Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK) is a holiday with increasing importance in our world. But most companies don't provide this as an official holiday. Here's the stats I could find via Bloomberg:
"Most U.S. workers won’t get Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A study by Bloomberg BNA found 37 percent of employees will get a paid day off, similar to the 35 percent that will be off on Presidents Day in February.
The survey found that as a paid day off, Martin Luther King Jr. Day might have plateaued. Those receiving it as a paid holiday have hovered between 30 percent and 37 percent the past five years.Manufacturers are least likely to provide it as a day off, with 10 percent offering it.
Non-federal holidays such as the Friday after Thanksgiving are more common days off. About seven in 10 employees receive that as a holiday, and 46 percent are off Christmas Eve."
MLK presents an interesting quandary for employers. If you don't have it, employees and candidates are increasing expecting it as a holiday, and MLK - rightly or wrongly - can be used as a proxy for commitment to diversity by vocal, mobilized special interest group and employees alike. I'm not saying you're not committed to diversity if you don't provide MLK as an official day. I'm saying it could be used against you, and all of us are smart to think about the meaning and what we should do if we don't provide it.
Let's say you've determined you want to provide MLK Day as a holiday, but you want to stay net even related to the total number of days you provide. Here's the checklist I go down...
1--It's not enough to say people can used general PTO or floating holidays to cover it. If you want the optics and meaning that providing MLK day off provides, it needs to be an official holiday.
2--If you have floating holidays or general PTO banked time, you could designate MLK as an official holiday and reduce that banked time by one day.
3--Next, you could look at your existing holidays. I rank order them like this:
Untouchable - Christmas (birth of Jesus), 4th of July (birth of our country), Memorial Day (remembering those who served and gave their lives)
Less meaningful but still untouchable - Christmas Eve (wow - try it - I wish you luck) New Year's Day (just try and take that one), Thanksgiving (our right to remember Omish-like founders and eat large amounts), Labor Day (celebrating workers - try that one)
One you could trade out, but there would be hell to pay - Day after Thanksgiving (expected if you've already given it - hello entitlement!!)
Trade this one or one like it out for MLK in 2019 - President's Day, Columbus Day, etc. (Let's face it, the presidents are on money, and damn, Columbus didn't even really discover America, right?)
If you want to give MLK as a holiday but want to stay even related to paid time off, this is your playbook. 1) Trade out President's Day or Columbus Day if have it. 2) If you have floating holidays or generalized PTO, reduce by one day and designate MLK as official in exchange. 3) Go get Friday after Thanksgiving or (winces) Christmas Eve to trade for MLK.
Good luck if you're seeking to add MLK and stay neutral related to time off. I hope your Change Management goes well.