UW News

June 17, 2021

Washington formally recognizes Juneteenth as a paid holiday in 2022

President Joe Biden’s signature on legislation Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a welcome recognition. Our state — including the University of Washington — looks forward to marking Juneteenth as a paid holiday beginning June 19, 2022.

While most federal employees will observe the new federal holiday immediately, the state-level recognition of any federal holiday requires state legislation. HB 1016 was approved by the Washington Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 13, establishing the paid holiday for state employees beginning next year. 

“Juneteenth is an opportunity for all of us to keep expanding our knowledge and understanding of Black history,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a blog post this week. “As a community grounded in intellectual curiosity and shared values, let this Juneteenth be a day to both learn from our past and commit to a future that reflects the lessons we take from it.”

The UW will raise the Pan-African flag on the Seattle campus, as well as at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma on Saturday, and UW Medicine will raise the Juneteenth flag. Learn more about Juneteenth and ways to observe it at hr.uw.edu.