I hope that since April 26 you have been able to spend some time contemplating the stupendous ginormitude of the one sentence that comprises the Mittal Steel Point order, each of its 538 words so carefully chosen and placed with care to convey exactly the meaning intended. If so, you will be in a better position to cope with this even longer sentence a reader submitted a couple of days later, which I understand is the first paragraph of the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Act. It provides:
Every person having employees in his service shall pay weekly or bi-weekly each such employee the wages earned by him to within six days of the termination of the pay period during which the wages were earned if employed for five or six days in a calendar week, or to within seven days of the termination of the pay period during which the wages were earned if such employee is employed seven days in a calendar week, or in the case of an employee who has worked for a period of less than five days, hereinafter called a casual employee, shall, within seven days after the termination of such period, pay the wages earned by such casual employee during such period, but any employee leaving his employment shall be paid in full on the following regular pay day, and, in the absence of a regular pay day, on the following Saturday; and any employee discharged from such employment shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge, or in Boston as soon as the laws requiring pay rolls, bills and accounts to be certified shall have been complied with; and the commonwealth, its departments, officers, boards and commissions shall so pay every mechanic, workman and laborer employed by it or them, and every person employed in any other capacity by it or them in any penal or charitable institution, and every county and city shall so pay every employee engaged in its business the wages or salary earned by him, unless such mechanic, workman, laborer or employee requests in writing to be paid in a different manner; and every town shall so pay each employee engaged in its business if so required by him; but an employee absent from his regular place of labor at a time fixed for payment shall be paid thereafter on demand; provided, however, that the department of telecommunications and energy, after hearing, may authorize a railroad corporation or a parlor or sleeping car corporation to pay the wages of any of its employees less frequently than weekly, if such employees prefer less frequent payments, and if their interests and the interests of the public will not suffer thereby; and provided, further, that employees engaged in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity as determined by the attorney general and employees whose salaries are regularly paid on a weekly basis or at a weekly rate for a work week of substantially the same number of hours from week to week may be paid bi-weekly or semi-monthly unless such employee elects at his own option to be paid monthly; and provided, further, that employees engaged in agricultural work may be paid their wages monthly; in either case, however, failure by a railroad corporation or a parlor or sleeping car corporation to pay its employees their wages as authorized by the said department, or by an employer of employees engaged in agricultural work to pay monthly the wages of his or her employees, shall be deemed a violation of this section; and provided, further, that an employer may make payment of wages prior to the time that they are required to be paid under the provisions of this section, and such wages together with any wages already earned and due under this section, if any, may be paid weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly to a salaried employee, but in no event shall wages remain unpaid by an employer for more than six days from the termination of the pay period in which such wages were earned by the employee.
Word count: 598. [Correction: 593. I either counted wrong, or the state legislature is quietly taking words out one at a time, hoping to avoid further embarrassment.] That is about ten percent longer than the previous record-holder, but it is much more heinous, because instead of being a one-time order in one particular case, it is a statute that must be read and applied over and over again. Truly, a gift that keeps on giving.
Again, if anyone knows of or happens across a sentence even longer than this one (in a legal document -William Faulkner is somebody else's problem), please let me know.