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Juneteenth to Become State Holiday in Connecticut

By: Rebecca Goldberg

Juneteenth is slated to become a state holiday in Connecticut starting in 2023.  Although prior efforts had failed, the General Assembly recently passed a bill to elevate Juneteenth from a commemorative day to a state holiday.  Support was nearly unanimous, with the bill passing in the House by a vote of 148-1 and in the Senate by a vote of 30-1. Governor Lamont is expected to sign.  Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

Juneteenth will be observed on June 19th or the nearest Friday or Monday if it falls on the weekend.  As a state holiday, schools are required by state law either to close or to “hold a suitable nonsectarian educational program in observance of [the] holiday.”  Banks and credit unions in the state will close.

There is no general legal obligation for other employers in Connecticut to close or provide holiday pay; however, employers should consult their handbooks to determine whether they enumerate specific holidays for closure/premium pay or whether they refer to state holidays.  In the latter case, Juneteenth would now be added to such a list.  Municipal employers should also consult their charters to determine whether the designation of Juneteenth as a state holiday results in any specified operational impact.  Unionized employers should consult their collective bargaining agreements to determine whether the designation as a state holiday requires different treatment.  If not, such employers should be prepared for the issue to reach the bargaining table.

Ultimately, the decision as to whether and how to recognize Juneteenth is at the discretion of each employer unless there is a requirement to observe the holiday found in a collective bargaining agreement or other source of law.  Employer considerations addressing Juneteenth in their workplaces is described in more detail here.