Bank of America says employees can take personal day for Juneteenth

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Bank of America said employees can take a personal day off this Friday for Juneteenth, the day that marks the effective end of American slavery, though the lender will keep branches open.

“For U.S. teammates who would like to honor the day out of work, we reinforce the additional flexibility to take time away,” the bank said in a memo to employees Wednesday. Staff can use as many as five occasional illness days as personal days before Dec. 31, up from a standard two days and in addition to their vacation days or paid time off, according to the memo.

Corporations are increasingly responding to public outcry over the killings of African Americans including George Floyd by police officers, which has led to nationwide protests in recent weeks, and growing awareness of systemic racism in America.

Bank of America’s announcement comes a day after Citigroup encouraged staff to use one of their personal days to commemorate Juneteenth, while banks including JPMorgan Chase, Capital One Financial and U.S. Bancorp are closing branches and offices early on June 19.

“We celebrate Juneteenth as an important anniversary and milestone in the long, continued journey to racial equality in this country,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan wrote in a message on the Charlotte, N.C., company’s intranet. “Our teammates will be encouraged and empowered to learn more about the history and meaning of the day, connect with each other and honor the anniversary at home and at work.”

Moynihan recently recorded a panel with Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; UnidosUS CEO Janet Murguia; and National Urban League CEO Marc Morial on racial equality and economic mobility (the recording is being made available to staff). The bank pledged $25 million to a Smithsonian initiative on race.

Bloomberg News
Workforce management Diversity and equality Bank of America Brian Moynihan
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