Paid Leave Jumps for Martin Luther King Day

This year, a record 43 percent of American employers will provide a paid day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Bloomberg BNA survey finds. 

This is a notable increase from the previous all-time high of 37 percent recorded in each of the past two years. 

The nationwide survey has been conducted annually since MLK Day became a federal holiday and reflects the responses of senior human resources and employee relations executives representing nearly 450 employers. 

While 73 percent of nonbusiness organizations, such as hospitals, schools and municipalities, will grant employees paid leave on Jan. 16 in honor of Dr. King's birthday, only 14 percent of manufacturers will follow suit. 

Approximately one in three non-manufacturing businesses, such as financial services organizations and insurance providers, will provide a paid holiday. Over half of workers in unionized organizations (53 percent) will get the day off with pay, as compared to less than four in ten (39 percent) in non-unionized workplaces. 

While 23 percent of all employers will sponsor programs or events in January to recognize Dr. King’s life and achievements, no manufacturers responded that they will be doing so. Those most likely to hold a commemorative event are nonbusiness organizations (35 percent) and organizations with unions (38 percent). 

Despite this year's record high, MLK Day still pales in comparison to such holidays as Christmas, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, all of which are designated as days off with pay by the vast majority of employers. 

The holiday "is on par with President’s Day (37 percent) and far outpaces Columbus Day (16 percent) and Veteran’s Day (24 percent)," said Molly Huie, Bloomberg BNA’s Manager of Survey and Research Reports.

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