When is “stretching” a holiday permissible?
The test of reasonableness must be applied to every rule and policy any time a question or dispute arises in connection with its enforcement.
In a New Jersey plant, a rule as spelled out in the employee manual stated: To be eligible for holiday pay, employees must work a full day before and after the holiday.
When Maintenance Department Painter George Arlan received his check on the payday following the Washington’s birthday holiday, he made a quick trip to his supervisor’s desk. “I wasn’t paid for Washington’s birthday,” he complained.
Maintenance Foreman Bill Stoller checked the record and replied, “You weren’t paid because you were in violation of the contract.”
“Check the manual,” Stoller replied, “the rule says…”
He read off the rule as stated.
“You gotta be kidding,” Arlan said. “I worked the day before.”
“Yeah, 7 1/2 hr instead of 8. That’s not a full day.”
“Big deal. I took off a 30 min early to catch a train.”
Stoller shrugged. “A rule is a rule.”
“Not if its application is picayune and ridiculous.”
“You may have a point. I’ll check it out with the boss.”
Question : What do you think? Should Arlan be paid for the holiday?
Parker’s verdict: Stoller’s boss, Plant Engineer Al Parker, thought so. “The rule’s purpose is to discourage holiday stretching. There’s a definite distinction between stretching a holiday, and making a practical adjustment. Notify Payroll to pay Arlan for the day.”