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Three in Ten Organizations Will Close for Business on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Eleven Percent Will Provide Events or Programs in Recognition, According to Bloomberg BNA's Most Recent Survey of Employer Holiday Practices

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year, almost 30 years after President Reagan signed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day into law, slightly more than three in ten employers (32 percent) will give the civil rights leader's birthday (January 21) as a paid holiday to most or all of their workers. In addition, 11 percent reported that they will sponsor programs or events to acknowledge Dr. King's life and achievements, regardless of whether they will give the day off.


The increase in paid leave reflects a one percentage-point change from last year's figures reported by employers (31 percent), the second year in a row a marginal one percentage-point increase was reported. Despite this small, though steady, increase, the average proportion of companies who observe MLK Day by giving employees a paid holiday for the past 10 years is 30 percent while the average proportion recorded in the 1990s was at 22 percent.

When asked if their organization sponsors programs or events which recognize Dr. King's accomplishments, 11 percent of respondents do currently have a program or event regardless of whether they give the holiday or not. Programs range from simple (e.g., emails, posters, and blog posts) to more elaborate (e.g., discussion groups, speakers, memorial celebrations, and volunteer opportunities). At least one organization provides a floating day of paid leave to enable employees to acknowledge Dr. King by volunteering in a way that they deem appropriate.

Of the 30 percent of employers who give Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, over half (56 percent) had established the day as a paid holiday for all or most of their employees before 2000, some as early as 1970. Between the years of 2000 to 2009 another 40 percent of this year's respondents started offering the holiday to all or most of their employees, and in the past three years an additional 5 percent started to offer the holiday.

As in past years, among organizations that give Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday, clear differences between industries are seen. Nonbusiness employers will give Monday, January 21st as a paid holiday in 56 percent of firms surveyed. Twenty-eight percent of employers in nonmanufacturing will give a paid holiday, half the proportion of nonbusiness. A clear minority, 7 percent, of manufacturing employees will have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday.

Differences by workforce size and union status are much smaller. Of those who employ fewer than 1,000 employees, 31 percent will give all or most of their employees off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2 percentage-points less than the number who employ more than 1,000 employees (33 percent). Organizations with employees represented by a union are slightly more apt than their nonunionized counterparts to get a paid holiday on January 21st (30 percent versus 38 percent).  

Sample: A cross section of 628 employers responded to a web-based survey administered from September 10 to September 23, 2012.  Of these, 65 percent employ fewer than 1,000 workers, while 35 percent employ 1,000 workers or more. Twenty-one percent of those participating were manufacturing firms, 48 percent were services/nonmanufacturing companies, and 29 percent were nonbusiness organizations such as government employers, hospitals, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. (Two percent did not indicate an industry classification.) Nonunion establishments make up 79 percent of the survey sample, while the remaining 21 percent employ at least some union-represented workers. (One percent did not indicate union status.)

Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans the full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.

SOURCE Bloomberg BNA

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