Passed as part of the biennial state budget, House Bill 110, Ohio law now officially recognizes Juneteenth Day as an Ohio holiday. Prior to this, Governor Mike DeWine had recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday, though this initial announcement only affected state employees. By officially enshrining Juneteenth in Ohio’s statutes, Ohio now requires many political subdivisions to also recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
Specifically, the new law adds Juneteenth to the lists of holidays that the state (R.C. § 1.14), counties (R.C. § 325.19), townships (R.C. § 511.10), and school districts (R.C. § 3319.087) must recognize (though, under the changes, schools are only required to provide the holiday for nonteaching employees who work on a nine- or ten-month basis). The addition of Juneteenth as a holiday for these political subdivisions goes into effect on September 30, 2021.
Counties, townships, and school districts should review their rules and regulations to ensure that they are in compliance with this new requirement. Counties, townships, and school districts should also review their collective bargaining agreements. Because recognized holidays are part of the wages, hours, and terms and conditions of public employment, collective bargaining agreements may contain provisions that supersede Ohio law regarding which holidays must be recognized for union employees. If that is the case, the collective bargaining agreement would control, but nothing would prevent the political subdivision from providing Juneteenth as a holiday to union employees even if it is not a recognized holiday in the collective bargaining agreement.
While House Bill 110 added Juneteenth as a holiday for counties, townships, and school districts, no similar provision exists for Ohio’s municipalities.