Target Corp.and J.C. Penney are giving employees a new paid holiday.
The discounter and department store company are both recognizing Juneteenth (June 19) —the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S.—as an official annual company holiday. While all Target stores and distribution centers will remain open, hourly employees who work on June 19 will be paid time and a half.
In addition, all eligible Target employees will have the option to take the day off with full pay. Headquarters offices will be closed in observance of the day.
“We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target. “Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”
Penney stores will remain open on Juneteenth, but hourly employees working that day will receive additional holiday pay, CEO Jill Soltau said in a note.
“This Friday, June 19, I ask that you take the day to honor the historic pain caused by – and lives lost to – racial inequity and celebrate racial diversity,” said Soltau. “This is an opportunity to continue to learn, connect with each other, and reflect on how we can move forward and achieve permanent and lasting change.”
Soltau also said that Penney officers are holding “open listening conversations” with their teams, including furloughed employees, surrounding race relations.
“These conversations are designed to be open, collaborative and supportive,” Soltau said. “Our company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity runs deep, yet we must dig deeper and do better.”