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to pay him for the holiday, notwithstanding he may have been employed off and on for a long time before and after the holiday. Where there was good reason to believe that a man came on with a view of doing just enough work to get the holiday pay, I have also refused to give it to him. Where work is suspended for a time, even though the men are neither furloughed, discharged, or laid off, I have never paid them for holidays occurring during the term of suspension.
"4. In the case of amended section 1389 of the District Code, above quoted, I should naturally infer that the days named were made holidays in the same sense that Sunday is a holiday, and that specific authority would be required to pay employees who are paid by the day for services not rendered on those days. There is specific authority for paying on all of the holidays named, except Saturday and Inauguration Day, as I understand the law and the decisions. But it seems to me there is no authority for paying on Saturday afternoon, except through interpretation of rather vague wording in the joint resolution and acts above quoted. However, it is requested that an answer to the question above propounded be obtained from the Comptroller of the Treasury.
"5. It should be stated that if every Saturday, after twelve o'clock noon' is decided to be a legal holiday for which all employees entitled to pay on, say, the Fourth of July shall also receive full pay, it will make economical work by day's labor entirely out of the question. It will amount to twenty-six (26) full days in the year, and increase the total cost of labor by fully fifteen per cent (15%). Owing to time lost on other days when the weather is bad, twenty-six (26) days will be a larger percentage of the actual working time than might be inferred from a perusal of the calendar. If the men are entitled to this extra pay, it will add at least $30,000.00 to the cost of the coming year's work at Washington Barracks, and there will be claims against the United States on work done under my direction alone since June, 1902, amounting to probably $75,000.00 or $80,000.00, if not more. Much of the work at Washington Barracks is too far involved in the method of execution by separate contract and hired labor to be changed; but if it should be decided that the men are entitled to every Saturday afternoon, with pay, I should at once put as much work as possible under contract, and discharge the entire day labor force as rapidly as possible, from motives of economy.
6. "If grounds of public policy can be considered in construing the law, it should be decided, for the sake of the men themselves, that they are not entitled to a holiday with pay on Saturday afternoon. It involves more labor on the part of the constructing officer to do work by hired labor. One of my principal reasons for undertaking it is that it results in chang
ing the contractor's profit into better work for the United States, and more and better pay for the men, especially holiday pay, to which they are now entitled for seven full days in the year. The economy of work by hired labor would be utterly destroyed if the number of holidays is greatly increased. Such a method of work is only justifiable where it can be kept within the limits of an honest contractor's cost, plus his profit. If day labor work must stop, the men will lose all holidays, including the seven to which they are now entitled, for no contractor pays his men for legal holidays unless they work."
The hypothetical question stated by Captain Sewell in paragraph 2 of his communication does not present a question of law upon which I am authorized to render a decision. But I will assume that you desire my decision upon the question whether, under the provisions of section 1389 of the Code of Laws for the District of Columbia, enacted by Congress March 3, 1901 (31 Stat., 1401), as amended by the act of June, 30, 1902 (32 Stat., 543), the men employed at Washington Barracks are entitled to a full day's pay for Saturdays, although not performing any labor on such days after 12 o'clock noon.
Captain Sewell does not describe the character of the employment of the men referred to, but I infer from his communication that they are employed as day laborers. I am therefore of opinion that these provisions of the code do not authorize their payment for a full day on Saturdays where they have not performed labor after 12 o'clock noon.
There is a clear distinction between these provisions making the days specified therein legal holidays in the District of Columbia and provisions in other statutes that per diem employees shall receive the same pay on the holidays specified therein that they are entitled to receive on other days. A comparison of these provisions renders this clear.
1. Provisions for holidays in the District of Columbia. Section 993 of the Revised Statutes of the District of Columbia provides as follows:
"The following days, namely, the first day of January, commonly called New Year's Day; the fourth day of July, the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas Day, and any day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fast or thanksgiving shall be holidays within the District, and shall for all purposes of presenting for payment or acceptance, for the maturity and protest and giving notice of the dishonor of bills
of exchange, bank checks, and promissory notes, or other negotiable or commercial paper be treated and considered as is the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and all notes, drafts, checks, or other commercial or negotiable paper falling due or maturing on either of said holidays shall be deemed as having matured on the day previous.
The act of January 31, 1879 (20 Stat., 277), provides as follows:
"That section nine hundred and ninety-three of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia be, and the same hereby is, amended by adding to the days therein declared to be holidays within the District the twentysecond day of February, and such day shall be a holiday for all the purposes mentioned in said section:
The act of June 18, 1888 (25 Stat., 185), provides as follows:
"That section nine hundred and ninety-three of the Revised Statutes of the United States, relating to the District of Columbia, be, and the same hereby is, amended, by adding to the days therein declared to be holidays within the said District, that day upon which the Fresident of the United States is inaugurated, otherwise called Inauguration Day, and that such day shall be a holiday for all the purposes mentioned in said section."
The act of August 1, 1888 (25 Stat., 353), provides as follows:
"That the thirtieth day of May in each year, usually called 'Decoration Day,' shall be, and hereby is, made a holiday within the District of Columbia as fully in all respects as are the days mentioned as holidays in section nine hundred and ninety-three of the Revised Statutes of, the District of Columbia."
The act of December 22, 1892 (27 Stat., 405), provides as follows:
"That it shall be lawful for trust companies, banks, and bankers in the city of Washington to close their doors for business at twelve o'clock noon on each and every Saturday in the year, and every Saturday in the year after twelve o'clock noon shall be a legal half holiday so far as regards the presenting for the payment or acceptance and the protesting and giving notice of the dishonor of bills of exchange, bank checks, drafts, promissory notes, and other negotiable paper, and for these purposes shall be treated and considered as the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, without reference to whether any of said banks or trust companies do or do not close as aforesaid; and all such bills, checks, drafts, and notes presentable for acceptance or payment on Saturdays shall be
deemed to be presentable for acceptance or payment on the secular or business day next succeeding: Provided, however, That all bills of exchange, drafts, and promissory notes made after the passage of this act, except those payable at sight or on demand, which shall be otherwise payable on any halfholiday Saturday, shall be deemed to be, and shall be, payable on the next succeeding secular or business day: And provided further, That for the purpose of protesting or otherwise holding liable any party to any bill of exchange, bank check, draft, or promissory note which shall not have been paid before twelve o'clock at noon on any half-holiday Saturday, a demand of acceptance or payment thereof may be made and notice of protest or dishonor thereof may be given on the next succeeding secular or business day: And provided further, That when any person shall receive for collection in said city of Washington any bill of exchange, bank check, or promissory note due and presentable for acceptance or payment on any half-holiday Saturday, such person shall not be deemed guilty of neglect or omission of duty, nor incur any liability in not presenting for payment or acceptance or collecting such bill of exchange, bank check, draft, or promissory note on that day. Nothing in this section shall affect any legislation applicable to any Saturday whenever the same, under the provision of said section, shall be a legal holiday.
The act of February 18, 1893 (27 Stat., 755), provides as follows:
"That section one of the act of Congress approved December twenty-second, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, entitled 'An act making Saturday a half holiday for banking and trust company purposes in the District of Columbia,' be, and it is hereby, amended so as to read as follows:
“That every Saturday which under existing laws shall not become a legal holiday in its entirety in the District of Columbia, shall therein be a legal holiday, from twelve o'clock at noon, for all purposes respecting the presentation for payment or acceptance or the protesting or giving notice of the dishonor of bills of exchange, bank checks, drafts, promissory notes, and all commercial paper whatsoever, whether made in or beyond the said District or whether made before or after the passage of this act, and all such bills of exchange, bank checks, drafts, promissory notes, and commercial paper which otherwise would be due and payable or presentable for acceptance or payment in said District, on such half-holiday Saturday, shall therein be due and payable or presentable for acceptance or payment on the secular or business day next succeeding: Provided, however, That any acceptance or payment thereof with interest thereon to said date when the same bears interest made on such half-holiday Saturday, before twelve o'clock noon, shall be lawful.
"Andall bills of exchange, bank checks, drafts, promissory notes, and commercial paper whatsoever, which, for existing law, would be due and payable or presentable for acceptance or payment in said District on any day which is a full legal holiday, or on Sunday, shall, therein, be payable or presentable for acceptance or payment on the secular or business day next succeeding; and all acts and parts of acts, so far as inconsistent with this act, are hereby repealed.'
The act of June 28, 1894 (28 Stat., 96) provides as follows:
"That the first Monday of September in each year, being the day celebrated and known as Labor's Holiday, is hereby made a legal public holiday, to all intents and purposes, in the same manner as Christmas, the first day of January, the twenty-second day of February, the thirtieth day of May, and the fourth day of July are now made by law public holidays."
Section 1389 of the Code of Laws for the District of Columbia, enacted by Congress March 3, 1901 (31 Stat., 1404), provides as follows:
"WHEN NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT IS PAYABLE.-Every negotiable instrument is payable at the time fixed therein, without grace. When the day of maturity falls upon Sunday or a holiday the instrument is payable on the next succeeding business day. Instruments falling due upon Saturday are to be presented for payment on the next succeeding business day, except that instruments payable on demand may, at the option of the holder, be presented for payment before twelve o'clock noon on Saturday when that entire day is not a holiday. The following days in each year, namely, the first day of January, commonly called New Year's Day; the twenty-second day of February, known as Washington's Birthday; the Fourth of July; the thirtieth day of May, commonly called Decoration Day; the first Monday in September, known as Labor's Day; the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas Day; every Saturday, after twelve o'clock noon; any day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fasting or thanksgiving, and the day of the inauguration of the President, in every fourth year, shall be holidays in the District within the meaning of this section. Whenever any day set apart as a legal holiday shall fall on Sunday, then and in such case the next succeeding day shall be a holiday; and in such cases and in all cases in which a Sunday and a holiday shall fall on successive days all commercial paper falling due on any of said days shall, for all purposes of presenting for payment or acceptance, be deemed to mature and be presentable for payment or acceptance on the next secular or business day succeeding."