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Federal holiday pressures companies to give Juneteenth off

Hundreds of top companies had already pledged last year to observe Juneteenth in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd
Credit: AP
FILE - In this June 17, 2021, file photo, President Joe Biden hands a pen to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., after signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. From left, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Opal Lee, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., obscured, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, obscured, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is putting pressure on more U.S. companies to give their employees the day off, accelerating a movement that took off last year in response to the racial justice protests that swept the country. 

Hundreds of top companies had already pledged last year to observe Juneteenth in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. But most private companies take their cues from the federal government in drawing up their holiday calendars. 

More than 800 companies have publicly pledged to observe Juneteenth, according to HellaCreative. That is nearly double the number of companies that had joined the pledge last year.