This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
All rules are off where there is no regular pay day. The hotel that is in debt to the help is in a bad way; they break away from the restraints of dicipline, work but to suit themselves and always have it in mind to say: "If I don't suit you pay me off!" and in such a house the steward has no business.
The good hotel rule is to have a set day each month when the wages due is handed to each and every employe of the house in a sealed envelope, superscribed with the individual's name and the amount of the contents. Most hotels pay on the tenth of the month, paying up to the first and holding back ten days' pay until the hand leaves finally and then the ten days reserve is paid. Some proprietors choose the fifth for pay day, keeping back only five days' pay; a few choose the fifteenth, keeping back half a month. Some of the largest hotels, however, have two pay days each month, as the third and seventeenth, or fifth and twentieth. For several reasons the tenth of the month is the best day, and the ten days' pay always retained till the hand leaves is sufficient restraint. Were the employes paid up in full they would frequently leave the hotel without a word of notice. If paid on the fifth they frequently sacrifice the five days pay due them in order to get away without giving notice, or finding a substitute to take their place.
When finally paid off by the steward the ten days' reserved pay very frequently is all they have saved to live upon until they find new employment, and its retention until such a time is a real benefit to them.
On the morning of the pay day, or on the day before in a large hotel, the steward looks over his time book, notes time lost by absence, by sickness, fines, money drawn (which can only be drawn through another blank filled out by the steward), and any other remark; sets down the amount due against each name, with particulars, and hands the list to the cashier, who compares and corrects his own books accordingly, and at a convenient time the help are ordered to go to the cashier's. window all at once and are paid, the steward standing by to identify each one if necessary. In the smaller hotels, however, the steward or a clerk goes around and hands the en. velopes to the owners without their having to leave their work.