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Welcome to May

Posted on May 16, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Nearly one in five Americans may experience some form of mental illness each year. Many employers are dealing with workers who are facing extra stress due to the pandemic and its impact on their working lives and/or family situations.

For many of these individuals (and many without mental-health conditions as well), work is key to their health, contributing to a sense of purpose and well-being. Thus, it’s important that employers understand how to foster a mental health-friendly work culture.

Consider looking at your company’s existing support programs. Your company may have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place that can give some employees a starting point. Another place to consider is your company health insurance provider. A quick search of the Internet is likely to yield many other resources, but you need to be careful to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

May is Asian-American and Pacific-Islander Heritage month

Congress passed a joint resolution in 1978 authorizing the president to proclaim a week-long celebration of Asian-American and Pacific-American heritage. The first Asian- and Pacific- American Heritage week took place the week of May 4, 1979.

In 1990, the proclamations expanded to a month-long observance. Congress passed legislation in 1992 recognizing the previous proclamations and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and annual designation in May. It was expanded in 2009 to include Pacific Islanders.

The month of May has significance in the history of Asian-Americans because in May of 1843 the first Japanese immigrant arrived in America.  In May of 1869 the “golden spike” was driven into the first Transcontinental Railroad, built largely by Chinese-American workers.

Important days in May

While May Day and Cinco de Mayo have come and gone there are still important days to be observed in May.

National Heat Awareness Day

National Heat Awareness Day is observed annually on the last Friday of May, which falls on May 27 this year. National Heat Awareness Day is an effort by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Weather Service to alert workers, employers, and the public to the (preventable) health dangers related to heat, in order to reduce the overall rate of heat-related illnesses and deaths.

Examples of how dangerous a heatwave can be include:

  • 1980 U.S. heatwave – 1250 people killed.
  • 1995 Chicago heatwave – 700 people killed.
  • 2003 European heatwave – more than 50,000 people killed.

Please see the May 4 HR Edge for an article discussing the dangers of heat in the workplace and strategies for minimizing its impact.

May 30, 2022 is Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the last Monday in May. It honors those who died serving in the United States military.

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of the summer season. Most government and businesses offices are closed on Memorial Day. Many Massachusetts employers are closed Memorial Day as well.

Massachusetts retail businesses that remain open that day must pay 1.1 times an employee’s regular pay rate (premium pay) for any employee who works.

If you would like to review the rules regarding Memorial Day, the AIM Holiday calendar, please visit and go to the store link.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because the graves of soldiers were decorated with flowers.  The first Decoration Day was observed on May 30, 1868. The first official observation involved placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 officially declared Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day because the village had held the first event on May 5, 1866. Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 until 1971 when the National Holiday Act of 1971 designated the last Monday in May to be the Federal holiday.

Enjoy the month of May and see you in June.