Federal Workers Will Get Friday Off to Observe Juneteenth; Biden to Sign Bill This Afternoon

The Office of Personnel Management confirmed that federal workers will get Friday off to observe Juneteenth after President Joe Biden signs the new law today.

“Today @POTUS will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday. As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th,” the agency tweeted.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union Army general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and proclaimed that slaves in the state were free per General Order No. 3. That day came months after the Confederate Army officially surrendered and ended the American Civil War.

The bill will be signed today at 3:30 p.m. EST; it is the first new federal holiday in decades since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan. The Senate approved the bill unanimously on Tuesday and the House followed suit with a 415-14 vote.