OPM Issues Pay and Leave Guidance for New Juneteenth Holiday

OPM has issued pay and leave guidance for the new Juneteenth holiday for federal employees.

The Office of Personnel Management has issued guidance for the implementation of the new federal holiday just signed into law by President Biden to commemorate Juneteenth.

The new holiday is today, Friday, June 18, because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year. Many federal employees have today off as a result. OPM states:

This year, June 19 falls on a Saturday. When a Federal holiday falls on a nonwork day for a full- time employee (including a full-time employee on a flexible or compressed work schedule), an alternative or “in-lieu-of” holiday within the employee’s tour of duty is designated based on the rules in 5 U.S.C. 6103(b) and Executive Order 11582. Accordingly, employing agencies must apply these rules for determining the “in-lieu-of” holiday for full-time employees who do not have a regular workday on Saturday, June 19, subject to the limitations described in this memorandum. For employees with a Monday-through-Friday work schedule, the “in-lieu-of” holiday will be June 18 (Friday).

OPM also adds that part-time employees are not entitled to an “in-lieu-of” holiday.

OPM’s guidance also states:

The following guidance pertains specifically to the implementation of the Juneteenth holiday on June 19, 2021:

  • If full-time or part-time employees have a regular workday on June 19 (Saturday), they will either receive holiday time off or, if they are required to work, holiday premium pay for qualifying holiday hours on Saturday.
  • For full-time employees who do not have a regular workday on June 19 (Saturday) but do have a regular workday on June 18 (Friday), the “in-lieu-of” holiday will generally be June 18 (Friday). Agencies should direct such employees to not report to work on Friday—unless the agency determines that their services are required. If employees are required to work during qualifying holiday hours, they will earn holiday premium pay.
  • Some full-time employees who do not have a regular workday on June 18 (Friday) or June 19 (Saturday) may have an “in-lieu-of” holiday on June 17 (Thursday)—e.g., employees who have an Alternative Work Schedule day off on Friday. Any work such employees perform during qualifying holiday hours will generate holiday premium pay. Some of these employees may have been working a scheduled shift at the time the President signed the Act. Employing agencies may direct such employees to cease working and excuse them from duty for the remainder of the workday.2
  • In rare circumstances, certain full-time employees could have a work schedule that would normally result in them having an “in-lieu-of” holiday on June 16 (Wednesday); however, because the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed and took effect on June 17 (Thursday), a retroactive June 16 “in-lieu-of” holiday may not be implemented because it occurred before the Act took effect. Agencies should grant any such employees an appropriate amount of excused absence hours on their first workday after June 19.
  • In rare circumstances, certain full-time employees may have an “in-lieu-of” holiday on June 20 (Sunday).
  • An employee who was previously scheduled to take paid leave or other paid time off on June 19, 2021, will not be charged such leave or other paid time off for his or her scheduled workday. (This policy does not apply to employees who receive annual premium pay for standby duty under 5 U.S.C. 5545(c)(1) or to firefighters who are covered by the special pay provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5545b.)
  • If an employee has an “in-lieu-of” holiday on Friday, June 18, and had a scheduled 9- hour workday under a flexible work schedule, an agency may grant 1 hour of administrative leave under these special circumstances, since the Juneteenth holiday was not established until June 17 near the end of a biweekly pay period, which did not allow the employee time to adjust his or her flexible schedule.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.