Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order 262 to provide up to eight hours of paid Personal Observance Leave to employees of Cabinet Agencies. Other state agencies, commissions, boards or offices may choose to adopt the policy for their personnel.
The leave may be used by eligible employees for any single shift or calendar day of personal significance, including but not limited to days of cultural or religious importance. This is another step to help ensure that North Carolina can continue to attract, retain and support top talent in its workforce.
“North Carolina is at its best when we celebrate our diversity and show respect for the cultural and faith traditions of all North Carolinians,” Governor Cooper said. “We’re proud of our diverse, talented state government workforce and encourage employees to use this leave to observe a date that’s important to them, their family or their community.”
Personal Observance Leave will become available to eligible state employees for use beginning no later than June 16. This means that employees scheduled to work on Sunday, June 19 may request to use this leave to observe Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, or may use it for a future occasion of importance to them. Likewise, employees with Monday-Friday work schedules may request to use this leave the Friday before or Monday after Juneteenth.
As with other forms of leave available to state employees, use of Personal Observance Leave should be requested at least two weeks before the leave is taken, unless impractical, and approved by the employee’s supervisor. When necessary to avoid impact to agency services – for example, if many employees request Personal Observance Leave on the same day – supervisors may ask employees to take their leave at different times. The Order directs employers to treat Personal Observance Leave requests as sincere and legitimate. Employees do not need to explain or justify use of this leave.
A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for employees and managers is available on the NC Office of State Human Resources website here.
The day of Personal Observance Leave will be available to eligible state employees in addition to the 12 existing paid state holidays. Per statute, the Holidays Policy provides 12 paid holidays per year including Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Veterans Day, and three days for Christmas. Other paid holidays include New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and two days for Thanksgiving.