The State of Georgia will now have Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees. This new legislation was signed by Governor Brian Kemp, and received bipartisan support.
This move now puts Georgia in alignment with the federal holiday calendar. Per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, paid holidays in Georgia will go from 12 to 13.
Juneteenth is a holiday to commemorate the official end of slavery in America. June of 2021, it was signed into law as a federal holiday. Because the 19th of June falls on a Sunday this year, the holiday will be observed on June 20th.
Currently, two state holidays in Georgia are “floating” days signed into law in observance of the confederacy. These two are the Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which have typically been observed on Good Friday and the day after Thanksgiving.
Previously, Georgia law restricted the number of office closures to the 12 legal, public holidays. Last year, Kemp was unable to give state employees Juneteenth off due to that. This year, Kemp moved to change that.
Juneteenth is often referred to as the country’s “second Independence Day.” It’s a day to celebrate the freedom of slaves in the US at the end of the Civil War. This holiday has been observed for more than 150 years by the African American communities throughout the country, prior to it becoming a federally observed holiday.
Here’s what happened last year when Biden signed the legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.