Alabama City Adds Juneteenth As A Holiday For Its Employees



PRATTVILLE, Alabama (AP) – A city in Alabama is granting its employees additional paid leave after its city council voted to recognize Juneteenth.

The holiday marks June 19, 1865, when Federal troops entered Galveston, Texas, approximately two months after the Civil War ended. This day, also known as “Freedom Day”, was established to mark the end of slavery in the country.

Prattville City Council District 2 Councilor Marcus Jackson, the only black member on the panel, pushed for recognition. Ideas ranged from a city-sponsored event to a vacation, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

“It’s a good day in Prattville,” Jackson said. “I am very grateful that the city council passed the resolution unanimously. Having the paid time off is important because it marks a day when a large group of Americans learned about their freedom. It’s our shared history, as Americans.

“Since then, we have made great progress. But we still have to work on our efforts to ensure diversity and inclusiveness. Having this paid time off can help keep a spotlight on these efforts. “

Juneteenth became a federal holiday this year after President Joe Biden signed an executive order. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey followed up by making it a statutory holiday. Ivey’s move was made just before June 19.

Most local governments follow the state holiday calendar, which provides 14 paid public holidays for state employees.

Prattville Chairman Jerry Starnes sponsored the decision to add Juneteenth to the Prattville vacation list.

“I think it’s important to observe an important day in history,” he said. “I thought the actions that made it a holiday this year were a bit quick. We really didn’t have time to prepare. The council sets the public holidays when we approve the budget. So that gives us a lot of time until next year.

Prattville now grants employees 12 statutory holidays per year, including a personal day taken at the request of employees.

At one point, Prattville was following the statutory holiday schedule, but things have changed. About five years ago, Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr. abolished the federal holidays on Presidents’ Day and Columbus Day. In their place, employees received the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve as statutory holidays.

Earlier, former Mayor Jim Byard Jr. ended Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis’ birthday. He did not replace those paid days off. The only Confederate-related holidays Prattville recognizes are the combined birthdays of Martin Luther King Jr. / Robert E. Lee.

Other local governments have also recognized Juneteenth this year, including the City of Montgomery and the Autauga County Commission, which follow the state’s statutory holiday schedule.



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