Minneapolis city employees will receive extra paid time off to mark Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
The city joins an increasing number of employers who are marking the holiday in the wake of George Floyd's death last year.
The City Council voted unanimously Friday to approve the change, and Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to sign off on it Monday.
Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins called the move "an important step in recognizing the reach of the hideous system of slavery within American history and the impacts that continue to show up today."
"Juneteenth is a time to uplift the liberation of American people, Black American descendants of slavery, a holiday we should all honor and recognize," Jenkins said in a statement. "I hope the city of Minneapolis will lead as an example for other organizations to establish Juneteenth as a holiday and embed discussion about its origins into a culture that promotes inclusion and anti-racism."
The holiday is traditionally observed June 19. Although President Abraham Lincoln first signed the Emancipation Proclamation intended to free enslaved people in the Confederacy in 1863, it wasn't enforced in many places until after the Civil War ended in 1865.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arriving in Galveston, Texas, told enslaved African Americans that they were free.
The next year, people who had been freed marked the occasion with a celebration that grew into the Juneteenth holiday.
Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the city will close many of its nonessential operations on June 18 to observe the holiday.
The city's human resources department estimated the cost of adding the holiday would be "somewhat less than" $300,000.
Payroll costs for the city's roughly 3,800 employees run about $1.5 million on a normal day, while costs on a holiday hover around $1.8 million because of overtime and holiday differentials.
Some of those costs could be offset by closing some facilities.
Hennepin County is considering a similar proposal that would give its employees time off to mark Juneteenth. That issue is expected to come before the Hennepin County Board next week.
Liz Navratil • 612-673-4994