New Staff Policies Promote Inclusion
Skyland Trail, a nonprofit mental health treatment organization in Atlanta, recently announced new staff policies and programming to promote inclusion and help employees of diverse backgrounds feel supported and welcome in the Skyland Trail community. Changes include the addition of Juneteenth as a paid holiday, compensation for military leave, and the creation of a BIPOC staff support group and an LGBTQ staff support group.
Effective January 1, 2023, Skyland Trail employees will receive Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Celebrated annually on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when the U.S. military arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced that enslaved people had been emancipated by law in 1862. Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021 and, for many Americans, together with July 4, more fully represents a celebration of independence. In additional to nine observed paid holidays, Skyland Trail employees also receive a “floating holiday” that they may use to celebrate other religious or cultural holidays.
A new staff policy was also recently created to support U.S. armed forces reservists who are required to complete two week of training each year. Effective January 1, 2023, this policy will pay the difference between what the reservist would have earned at Skyland Trail and their military training pay. This ensures their service to country does not include the additional sacrifice of lost pay.
Finally, two new staff support groups have been created: a BIPOC support group for staff who identify as Black, indigenous, or a person of color, and a LGBT support group for staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The goal of these monthly groups is to create an affirming space for staff to receive and give peer support and to identify opportunities to help Skyland Trail be a welcoming and equitable community for BIPOC and LGBT employees.
These new efforts reflect a collaboration of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the human resources department, senior leadership, and individual staff leaders and liaisons.