More Employers Honoring Dr. King with Paid Day Off

January 16, 2003 ( - If you're lucky enough to have Monday off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, you'll have more company than before.

A survey by Washington-based legal publisher BNA found that 30% of companies gave most of their workers a paid vacation for January 20 – up slightly from 25% in 2002 and 27% in 2001.

Teachers, government workers, and bank tellers are among the most likely to receive a paid day off in honor of King’s birthday. More than four out of five educational institutions (85%) and government offices (84%) have scheduled a paid holiday, as have eight out of 10 responding banks.

Employees in the manufacturing sector face long odds against a paid King holiday, as just 5% of surveyed manufacturers will grant their employees a paid day off. Health care establishments (12%) and wholesale and retail trade companies (15%) also remain comparatively disinclined to mark King’s birthday with a paid day off.

Larger workforces and union environments appear to boost the chances of a paid King holiday, the survey found. Some 41% of firms with 1,000 or more employees and unionized companies (37%) have slated a paid day off for January 20, 2003, compared with about one-quarter of smaller establishments (24%) and nonunion facilities (26%).

By region, Southern employers (37%) remain most likely to honor King’s accomplishments with a paid holiday, followed by Western employers (33 %) and Northeastern companies (29%). As in the past, North Central establishments (20%) are least inclined to grant a paid day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The BNA received survey responses from 392 human resource and employee relations executives representing a cross section public and private US employers.