According to Bloomberg BNA’s most recent survey of employer holiday practices, this year, a little more than three in ten employers (32 percent) will give Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (January 21) as a paid holiday to most or all of their workers. This news comes almost 30 years after President Reagan signed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day into law.
Of the 30 percent of employers who reported offering MLK, Jr. Day as a holiday, more than half (56 percent) had established the day as a paid holiday for all or most of their employees before 2000, some as early as 1970. Between 2000 and 2009 another 40 percent of this year’s respondents said they started offering the holiday to all or most of their employees, and in the past three years an additional 5 percent started to offer the holiday.
An additional 11 percent of companies reported that they will sponsor programs or events to acknowledge the civil rights leader’s life and achievements, despite whether they will give the day off. Programs ranged from simplistic—emails, posters, and blog posts—to more elaborate practices, such as discussion groups, speakers, memorial celebrations, and volunteer opportunities.
The organizations that do offer MLK, Jr. Day as a paid holiday differ between industries. According to the survey, non-business employers will give Monday, Jan. 21 as a paid holiday in 56 percent of firms surveyed. Of non-manufacturing employers, 28 percent will give a paid holiday, half the proportion of non-businesses. Manufacturing employers have the lowest chance of offering the upcoming holiday with paid-time-off with just 7 percent reporting to do so.