Going Beyond HR: Planning for Key Dates and Holidays in 2021

A list of holidays, monthly themes and observances that HR professionals can plan around

by Elle Mason

We’re all aware of the need to track critical compliance deadlines around insurance, taxes and other mandates – but we shouldn’t forget to acknowledge the key dates and holidays that celebrate people, too. 

All throughout the year, there are a number of observances, holidays, and awareness events that recognize people from various cultures, backgrounds and identities. Planning for these key HR dates and holidays should be a part of any diversity and inclusion effort.

Why?

It’s a people-centric approach – by focusing on HR planning beyond compliance, HR professionals are taking the time to recognize employees as full human beings with lives and identities, and acknowledging that who they are is just as important as the work that they do.

It can enhance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives – DEI efforts must be more frequent and continuous than single events or trainings. By embedding diversity recognition into the day-to-day culture, HR professionals are helping to foster a sense of inclusion.

It can improve the employee experience – when people feel recognized, celebrated and valued, they’re more likely to feel and engaged and able to bring their full selves to the workplace. 

Here are a list of holidays, monthly themes and observances that HR professionals can plan around to strengthen inclusion, recognize employees and help people feel more connected – especially during remote-work times. 

We’ve created a downloadable calendar (that syncs with your own) with all of these key dates & themes to help you stay on top of your HR planning ⬇️  

* Import to Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook Calendars

While this list may initially feel overwhelming, GoCo’s workflows can automate any checklist and help make this happen. For example: Want to plan virtual activities for mental health month? You can add detailed tasks in a workflow to help you stay organized.

January 2021 HR Dates for DEI

National Mentoring Month

Poverty in America Awareness Month

Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 4: National Braille Day

January 17: World Religion Day

January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 20: Presidential Inauguration Day

January 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 28: Mahayana New Year

January 28: Data Privacy Day

February 2021 HR Dates for DEI

American Heart Month

Black History Month

Human Relations Month

February 1: National Freedom Day

February 12: Chinese New Year

February 15: President’s Day

February 15: Nirvana Day

February 16: Mardi Gras

February 17: Ash Wednesday

February 20: World Day of Social Justice

February 25: Purim 

March 2021 HR Dates for DEI

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Ethnic Equality Month

Gender Equality Month

Greek-American Heritage Month

Irish-American Heritage Month

National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness and Education Month

National Women’s History Month

March 5: Employee Appreciation Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 19: Naw-Ruz

March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

March 27: Passover Begins 

March 28: Holi

March 28: Palm Sunday

March 31: Equal Pay Day

March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility

April 2021 HR Dates for DEI

Arab-American Heritage Month

Autism Awareness Month

Celebrate Diversity Month

Earth Month

National Volunteer Month

Scottish-American Heritage Month

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day

April 2: Good Friday

April 4: Easter

April 8: Yom Hashoah

April 12: Ramadan Begins

April 22: Earth Day

April 21: Administrative Professionals Day

April 23: National Day of Silence

May 2021 HR Dates for DEI

ALS Awareness Month

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

Haitian Heritage Month

Indian Heritage Month

Jewish-American Heritage Month

Mental Health Month

National Asian American and South Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Older Americans Month

South Asian American Heritage Month

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

May 9: Laylat al-Qadr 

May 11: Ramadan Ends

May 12: Eid al-Fitr

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

May 31: Memorial Day

June 2021 HR Dates for DEI

AIDS Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

National Caribbean American Heritage Month

Pride Month

June 14: Flag Day

June 19: Juneteenth

June 20: National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 24: Pride Day 

July 2021 HR Dates for DEI

French-American Heritage Month

July 4: Independence Day

July 5: Independence Day (Observed)

July 19: Eid al-Adha

July 24: Pioneer Day

July 26: National Disability Independence Day

August 2021 HR Dates for DEI

National Civility Month

August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

August 9: Hijri New Year

August 19: World Humanitarian Day

August 26: Women’s Equality Day

September 2021 HR Dates for DEI 

Hispanic Heritage Month

National Recovery Month

September 6: Labor Day

September 7: Rosh Hashanah Begins

September 11: Patriot Day

September 15: Yom Kippur Begins

September 20: Sukkot Begins

September 22: Autumnal Equinox

September 21: International Day of Peace

October 2021 HR Dates for DEI

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bullying Prevention Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Filipino-American Heritage Month

Italian-American Heritage Month

LGBTQ History Month

Polish-American Heritage Month

October 6: Navrati Begins

October 10: World Mental Health Day

October 11: National Coming Out Day

October 11: Indigenous Peoples’ Day 

October 16: National Boss’s Day

October 19: Eid Milad ul-Nabi

October 20: Sikh Holy Day

October 31: Halloween

October 31: Dia de los Muertos Begins

November 2021 HR Dates for DEI

National Native American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native Heritage Month

November 4: Diwali

November 11: Veterans Day

November 16: Dutch-American Heritage Day

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 25: Thanksgiving

November 28: Hanukkah Begins

December 2021 HR Dates for DEI

Universal Human Rights Month

December 1: World AIDS Day

December 3: International Day for People with Disabilities

December 10: International Human Rights Day

December 21: Winter Solstice

December 24: Christmas Eve (Christmas Day – Observed)

December 25: Christmas Day

December 26: Kwanzaa Begins

December 31: New Year’s Eve

* Import to Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook Calendars

Inclusion isn’t a one-day event – but an ongoing practice, which is why it’s important for HR to prepare and plan for these dates, even though they’re not the standard compliance or core-HR tasks. Fortunately, GoCo’s HRIS

can manage all of these tasks in one place so you can focus on the high-value items – like making people feel included and celebrated.

See how GoCo can simplify your HR

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