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January 11, 2012

A Holiday Already? For 3 of 10 Employers, That Is the Case!

Filed under: General HR Buzz12:09 pm

With Christmas already a distant memory, many employees are probably ready for another holiday.  Well, you are in luck if you work for 31% of the employers who observe Martin Luther King Day, which is Monday, January 16.  Organizations with a union presence are more likely to observe the holiday, along with federal employers.

In case you are wondering when Martin Luther King Day became an official holiday, keep reading for a little history refresher.  Martin Luther King is best known for his nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.   Following his assassination in 1968, a campaign began for a federal holiday in King’s honor.  It wasn’t until 1983, however, when it was signed into law by Ronald Reagan, and first observed on January 20, 1996.  At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such and even used alternate names or combined it with other holidays.  In 2000, it was officially observed in all 50 states on the 3rd Monday in January.

It may be said that Martin Luther King brought to light many issues which resulted in changes in HR laws regarding discrimination and diversity.  Whether or not your company observes the day as a paid holiday, it’s a great time to reflect and remember some of the quotes from Martin Luther King.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

From the “I Have a Dream” speech, Aug. 28, 1963

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

From “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

“From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.”

From the “I Have a Dream” speech, Aug. 28, 1963

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

From “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

 Source:  Bloomberg BNA’s Survey of Holiday Practices




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