Apple, like many other big tech firms, did not to give paid day-offs to its employees on the Martin Luther King’s birthday, and this has stirred up some controversy. Instead of giving a day off, Apple chose to contribute more to charities, but many critics believe the iPhone maker should have given a day off to its employees.

Apple's Decision To Not Give A Day Off On MLK Day Protested

Apple chooses charity work

Previously, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that he is inspired by King’s words on public service when he said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Apple seemed to be following these words while observing Martin Luther King Day. Standing in contrast to other companies, Apple does not gave its employees a paid vacation on Monday’s federal holiday, also known as MLK Day.

Instead, Apple increased the amount of money that goes to charity by two-fold for employees who choose to volunteer. The company will give $50 to charity for every hour of community service done by an employee, up from $25 previously. Apple is continuing this policy for the whole of the first quarter, and it is applicable to all the employees, including Apple Store workers.

Denise Young Smith, head of human resources at Apple, said in a memo obtained by the San Jose Mercury News that there is no better way to celebrate King’s legacy than to do something for the communities where we live and work.

Petition for the day off

There was a petition signed by around 200 people who demanded that Apple should have given off to its employees on Martin Luther King Day. The petition was published on the Coworker.org site, stating that Apple’s policy does not stand out, especially when the company has used the image of Martin Luther King in its advertising.

Aimée Castenell, the activist who started the petition on Coworker.org, said Apple dominates the rankings when it comes to offering generous vacation policies, but the company could have surely participated in this important historic holiday as well. Castenell said if Apple joins other companies in observing MLK Day, it will show its commitment to having a diverse staff and customer base and to the achievements of the civil rights movement.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has a majority of male employees and only a small number of female employees in comparison.