Monday, 8 March 2010

Senator Ferguson needs extra homework

Recently, Deputy Montfort Tadier brought a proposition calling for a Monday off when Liberation day fell (as it does this year) on a Sunday. Later when this failed he tried for a Friday, this was also rejected.

Philip Ozouf stated that "I think it would be unconscionable at this stage in the calendar at the end of February to be discussing and to be considering an extra and public holiday in what is effectively 12 weeks' time. No self-respecting nation state would be debating in their national parliament the addition of a holiday at such late stage. "

Deputy J.M. Maçon commented: "On a point of clarification, if I may. The Minister commented that no self-respecting national assembly would bring such a proposition at such short notice. May I ask when the Council of Ministers brought their Boxing Day proposal, how many weeks were given then?"

Now Deputy Maçon knows very well that the Boxing Day proposition was rushed through the assembly with very short notice. He has, in fact, caught Senator Ozouf in an inconsistency. What do you do when you have been caught out? If you are Senator Ozouf you respond by ignoring this and moving the debate to general terms. Well done to Senator Ozouf for not giving a straight answer!!!

Senator P.F.C. Ozouf: "If I am able to respond, clearly there is an issue that we need to sort out in relation to giving certainty in relation to public holidays and bank holidays. We need to sort this out, there are another 6 occasions in the next 35 years when Liberation day falls on a Saturday or a Sunday and when there are other Boxing Days and other days and we need to sort this out that there be an automatic statutory provision, not this chaos."

But the best of the commentators has to be Senator Ferguson, who plainly prefers to rely on memory rather than research.

"I think I have been lost in the points of clarification. I am confused by this habit of suddenly thinking: "Let us have an extra duvet day." I think it is something that seems to have come upon the population in general over recent years. The Deputy said it is the 65th anniversary, well, why not the 64th? Why did we not do this for the 64th or the 66th? Every year we celebrate Liberation Day is important because every year we remember. "

She now tackles the comment that the USA moves the day when Independence Day falls on a Sunday.

"I certainly did not intend to mislead the House but I can certainly assure the Deputy and the House that we did not get an extra day when I lived in America. Again, it must be a fairly recent thing because when I lived in New York we celebrated the day on the day and that was it, there was no extra holiday."

Well, if one wanted to be really picky, I would note that when, in 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday, the holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5. I don't really think that Senator Ferguson is quite that old, but that would certainly explain the shortfall in her memory.

If she had done her homework, she would have found that in 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday, and federal holidays, when they fall on a Sunday, are observed by workers the following Monday. When was this decided? Well, this year as it happens, Independence day falls on a Sunday, and as noted:

July 4, 2010 (the legal public holiday for Independence Day), falls on a Sunday. For most Federal employees, Monday, July 5, will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes. (See section 3(a) of Executive order 11582, February 11, 1971.)(1)

It can be seen that the order making this so was in 1971! So this is Senator Ferguson's "fairly recent thing". I myself would not consider 39 years quite as recent as that, but I am not quite as old as Senator Ferguson. I do hope that next time, however, she doesn't rely wholly on her memory but does a little extra homework.

It might also provide a good idea for Jersey politicians like Senator Philip Ozouf to look at this whole section to save reinventing the wheel! Here is the exact paragraph mentioned above:

Executive Order 11582--Observance of holidays by Government agencies
Source: The provisions of Executive Order 11582 of Feb. 11, 1971, appear at 36 FR 2957, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 539, unless otherwise noted.
By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Sec. 3. (a) Any employee whose basic workweek does not include Sunday and who would ordinarily be excused from work on a holiday falling within his basic workweek shall be excused from work on the next workday of his basic workweek whenever a holiday falls on Sunday.
(b) Any employee whose basic workweek includes Sunday and who would ordinarily be excused from work on a holiday falling within his basic workweek shall be excused from work on the next workday of his basic workweek whenever a holiday falls on a day that has been administratively scheduled as his regular weekly nonworkday in lieu of Sunday. (2)



Anonymous said...

' Well done to Senator Ozouf for not giving a straight answer!!!'

Something politicians ARE good at!

Anonymous said...

Well Done Deputy Macon!

Caught Ozouf out.