RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new executive order allowing some state employees paid leave for a day of personal significance, which could include Juneteenth.

Executive Order 262 provides up to eight hours of paid Personal Observance Leave to employees of Cabinet Agencies. The governor’s office said other state agencies, commissions, boards or offices may choose to adopt the policy for their personnel.

Cooper’s office said leave may be used by eligible employees for any single shift or calendar day of personal significance. This includes days of cultural or religious importance.

“North Carolina is at its best when we celebrate our diversity and show respect for the cultural and faith traditions of all North Carolinians,” 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.”

The leave policies will become available to beginning no later than June 16.

The state said this meant employees scheduled to work Juneteenth, observed on Sunday, June 19, may request the day off with Personal Observance Leave. Employees working a Monday through Friday schedule may request to use this leave on either the Friday before or Monday after Juneteenth.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

State employees can use Personal Observance Leave for any other day of significance to them.

“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,” the state said.

Cooper’s office said, as with other forms of leave, if the time off request is impacts agency services, employees may be asked to take off a different day. For example, supervisors may ask employees to take their leave at different times if too many people request a single day off.