Number of the Day

Less Than Half of U.S. Companies Give Employees MLK Day Off

Honoring the civil rights icon seems like the bare minimum — especially this year

Marker Editors
Published in
2 min readJan 14, 2021


45%: The share of U.S. companies that give employees a paid day off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Source: CNBC
Photo illustration, source: © Santiago Urquijo/Moment/Getty

45%: That’s the share of U.S. companies that gives employees a paid day off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to a 2019 Bloomberg Law survey, as reported by CNBC.

Since 1983, the third Monday in January has been observed as a federal holiday that honors civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. — though it took until the year 2000 for the holiday to be observed in all 50 states.

While the number of companies that observe MLK day as a holiday has been trending upward (only 28% of companies gave employees the day off in 2009), and it’s more popular with employers than other federal holidays like President’s Day and Veteran’s Day, it’s still a little shocking that fewer than half of all companies give their workers the day off. Following a year that has seen a pandemic decimate communities of color; in which widespread protests were triggered by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police; and that was capped off with the election of Georgia’s first Black senator on the same day that a white supremacist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol carrying Confederate flags, it would seem…