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Cooper OKs NC employee leave for 'personal significance' day

A girl paints on a poster celebrating Juneteenth in downtown Jackson, Miss., on June 19, 2020. Congress has voted to make the day a federal holiday.
A girl paints on a poster celebrating Juneteenth in downtown Jackson, Miss., on June 19, 2020.

Tens of thousands of North Carolina state employees are now provided with paid leave to observe a day of "personal significance," Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday.

Cooper's executive order gives workers in Cabinet-level agencies an additional eight hours of leave annually for an observance that includes but isn't limited to days of cultural or religious importance.

The order makes reference to days not listed in the paid holiday schedule for state employees, like Juneteenth, Diwali, Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah.

“North Carolina is at its best when we celebrate our diversity and show respect for the cultural and faith traditions of all North Carolinians,” Cooper said in a news release.

The state employee schedule already is at its maximum of 12 paid holidays. State law says those holidays must include Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Veterans Day and three days for Christmas.

Agencies and commissions that aren't directly controlled by the governor can also follow the policy.

The “Personal Observance Leave” should begin no later than June 16, and workers should give at least two weeks' notice, the release said.

The Office of State Human Resources asks agencies to grant leave requests for Juneteenth and LGBTQ pride month activities to “the greatest extent possible” given their proximity.

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