Nearly a third (30 per cent) of private sector employers in the U.S. are offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year, in addition to any federal U.S. employers already providing it as a paid day off, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Juneteenth — also referred to as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day or Freedom Day — is celebrated on June 19 each year and commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

Among organizations offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year, the survey found the majority (96 per cent) offered it for the first time starting in 2020. That year, only eight per cent of employers surveyed said they offered Juneteenth as a paid day off.

Read: TD bringing employees together to mark Canada’s first Emancipation Day

Since Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, employers will be recognizing the paid holiday on June 20, says Julie Stich, vice-president of content at IFEBP. “If employers decide to close, they would be closed on the Monday. . . . If they’re still open but they recognize the holiday, they’ll be paying [employees] time and a half or double time.”

Since Juneteenth was officially made a federal holiday in the U.S. just last year, it may explain the larger number of employers offering paid time off in 2022, says Stich, adding the holiday can help with attraction and retention strategies, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

“I think employers that are choosing to recognize the date, whether they offer it as a paid holiday or recognize it in other ways, it’s really reflective of the employer’s efforts in the area of DEI and whether they’re trying to have a more inclusive organizational culture.”

Read: Manulife holds DEI afternoon of ‘reflection, learning’ followed by bonus day off