U.S. companies give staff a day off for Juneteenth

FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) -Several U.S. companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Nike Inc, have given their U.S. employees a day off for the newly implemented Juneteenth federal holiday.

President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday to recognize June 19, or “Juneteenth”, a federal holiday marking the end of legal enslavement of Black Americans, pressuring more companies to declare the day a company holiday.

The law comes a year after the United States was rocked by protests against racism and policing following the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a Minneapolis police officer.

Retailer Target Corp said the day would remain an annual company holiday moving forward, while it would be a paid holiday at Yelp Inc. Nike said it would close all U.S. operations.

Coffee chain Starbucks Corp said its stores would remain open, but hourly workers would be paid at 1.5 times their regular rate and salaried staff will receive a holiday in lieu.

Employees can coordinate with managers for a paid day off between July 1 and Dec. 31, a memo from JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said.

Bank of America Corp’s staff will get a paid floating holiday this year and Juneteenth will be an official holiday starting next year, a memo showed.

Wells Fargo & Co will provide an additional personal holiday this year to eligible U.S.-based employees, a company spokesperson said. Wealth manager UBS also unveiled similar plans, an internal memo showed.

Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday created in nearly four decades. Texas officially declared Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980 and since then the holiday has been officially recognized in most U.S. states.

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