Jun 28, 2021
On June 17, President Biden signed the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” which designates Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19, as a legal public holiday. It is the 12th legal public holiday, including Inauguration Day, and the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
Juneteenth marks the date that chattel slavery ended in the United States, when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to deliver General Order No. 3, which officially ended slavery in the state and granted the last enslaved African Americans their freedom. This was several months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Designating June 19 a public holiday means, from a labor and employment perspective, that federal workers will receive a paid day off—or time and a half if they’re required to work—on or around June 19, depending on which day of the week the holiday falls. As the holiday fell on a Saturday this year, it was observed on June 18.
Within the promotional products industry, calendar manufacturers are working to update their products, when necessary, with the new public holiday.
“We anticipated that the interest in Juneteenth would increase this year,” says David Bywater, president and general manager of supplier Tru Art Advertising Calendars in Iowa City, Iowa. “We are incorporating this holiday into custom projects for 2022 and many of our stock line 2022 products include this holiday as well.”
But with calendar production for 2022 already under way before the announcement, some calendar suppliers have inventory that has already been produced that won’t designate this new federal holiday.
“The last time this happened was when Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was made a national holiday,” says Chuck Pecher, president of St. Louis, Missouri-based supplier Skinner & Kennedy. “Back then there was, I believe, three years from when the legislation was signed into law and when it took effect. There was plenty of time to make the necessary changes. With this being passed and put into effect immediately, we have printed and completed hundreds of thousands of calendars for 2022 that will not have the holiday.”
Pecher adds, “We will be making some announcements on our website in the next few days that we cannot guarantee that any of our 2022 calendars will show Juneteenth as a national holiday. The challenge will be to get our distributors and end users to understand the situation, and from a production standpoint, we are still trying to figure out how we handle existing inventory as well as inventory that will added later in the year.”
If you buy calendars for your company we will check with suppliers to find out if Juneteenth is included on their 2022 calendars. Some suppliers already have inventory that does not include the holiday.