Juneteenth and Floating Religious Days as PTO

In a move to foster an inclusive and equitable work environment, Online Optimism has made some updates to our paid time off policies outlined in our benefits. On June 18th, 2021, President Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and Online Optimism is joining organizations across the country in recognizing June 19th as a paid holiday. 

In addition to this update, Online Optimism will also be establishing religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday as floating holidays. Optimists can move these floating holidays to other dates as they wish. Instead of expecting all employees to recognize the same holidays, this policy allows Optimists to schedule their PTO around their personal practices.

Juneteenth’s History

Though Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, eradicating slavery, on January 1, 1863, it was not until over two years later, on June 19, 1985, when the news of abolition reached Galveston, Texas. The first Juneteenth was celebrated a year later, and the holiday serves to recognize the end of slavery in America. 

According to Juneteenth.com, the holiday, also known as Freedom Day, now “commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.” Black Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth for 156 years since its founding, and, ideally, increased recognition will make gathering on this day easier and more accessible. 

We know that a PTO day cannot alone mend centuries of systemic oppression and inequality. However, we hope that in rightfully recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday, we are taking a step in the right direction towards creating an inclusive and equitable culture here at Online Optimism. It is one element of our greater commitment towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Floating Holidays

The following holidays will be floating: 

  1. Recovery-from-Muses Friday
  2. Lundi Gras
  3. Mardi Gras
  4. Good Friday
  5. Christmas Eve
  6. Christmas Day

If an Optimist does not recognize these religious holidays, they can shift them to best fit their religious practices. This policy stems from a desire to respect the religious beliefs of all of our Optimists. The policy also aims to cultivate a workplace culture that both accommodates and celebrates differences. 

Other non-religious holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day remain unchanged. 

The Benefits of Paid Time-Off

Countless research has been done on the benefits of paid time off in the workplace. The Harvard Business Review found that those who took more vacation days were 30% more likely to receive a raise. It makes sense as paid time off improves employee retention, morale, and loyalty. Fundamentally, paid time off demonstrates appreciation and respect for employees and allows them to recharge and bring their best, most productive selves to the workplace. 

Online Optimism is committed to being a great place to work for our Optimists. A considerable part of that responsibility is ensuring that every Optimist is respected and has their personal and professional needs met.