Should all employees get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off? | The Tylt

Should all employees get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year, honoring the civil rights icon's birthday. Federal holidays only require non-essential federal government offices to close their doors, meaning the private sector does not have to give employees the day off. Many believe employers should honor MLK and the civil rights struggle with paid time off for employees or with a day of service. Others say businesses should have the right to stay open. What do you think?

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Should all employees get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off?
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If you're not getting MLK Day off this year, you're probably not alone. According to The Ladders' Jane Burnett, 56 percent of employers do not give their workers paid time off for the holiday. "Non-business organizations," on the other hand, are much more likely to give employees the day off, as 72 percent of employers in healthcare, government and education do not require employees to report to their respective offices for the day. 

Burnett offers hope for the private sector, pointing out a year-over-year increase in the number of employers who give employees the day off, citing:

The 2017 Bloomberg data show an increase in the percentage of employers giving the holiday off in recent years: 43% in 2017; 37% in both 2016 and 2015; 35% in 2014, and 32% in 2013.
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But the law says what the law says; employers are not required to give workers the day off. According to Andrew Lu of the FindLaw blog, staying open on MLK Day might be in your business's best interest. 

But with many people staying home from work, you may want to stay open on Monday as it may be prime time for a bump in business.
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MLK Day doesn't exist to give employees a three-day weekend; it should be a day of service. Employers should acknowledge the holiday by encouraging employees to volunteer during their time off, or better yet, organize company-wide volunteering during the holiday. 

According to Forbes' Ryan Scott:

As Martin Luther King Jr. observed, 'Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?' The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service...is a way of answering this question and fulfilling the mission of the holiday: empowering individuals, strengthening communities, bridging barriers, creating solutions to social problems, and moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
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Retail businesses in particular rely on the long weekend for an uptake in business following the gift-giving season. According to U.S. News, MLK Day is one of the major retail holidays of the year–up there with Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. 

Although the sales associated with the holiday weekend fail to acknowledge the reason behind MLK Day, they demonstrate how some employers simply can't afford to close their doors for the day. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should all employees get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off?
#GiveUsMLKDayOff
A festive crown for the winner
#MLKDayIsAWorkDay