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It's a Leap Year – Will I get Paid More? 🙏

For many people, leap years are associated with good fortune - and this year we'll all get to enjoy an extra day at the end of February.

Kathryn Webb
Kathryn Webb Worksmarter Team
If you’re lucky enough to be born on the February 29th because it’s a leap year, you’re part of a very special club of around 5 million people worldwide - known as ‘leaplings’ - who only get to celebrate their actual birthday once every four years. 
To make up for that, one town in Texas holds a very special festival in honour of leaplings. Anthony TX is known as the Leap Year capital of the world and celebrates by rolling out the red carpet for all leap year babies. Events include a complimentary BBQ dinner, music, wrestling and carnival-style games.
Leap years are associated with several superstitions surrounding relationships. Ukrainian and Greek folklore predicts that anyone who gets married during a leap year will end up divorcing their spouse. 

However, the Irish tradition encourages marriage, and that’s where we get the worldwide custom of women proposing to men on what used to be known as ‘Bachelor’s Day’. Luckily for hopeful Scottish women, a law was passed there in 1288 to fine any ungrateful men who refused a proposal that came their way. 
The Science
A leap year is a calendar correction that enables us to keep time accurately. According to Nasa, it takes approximately 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun — a solar year. We usually round the days in a calendar year to 365. To make up for the missing partial day, we add one day to our calendar approximately every four years. 
The extra day is taken in February because of the way the old Julian Calendar was altered by Julius Caesar. The Roman dictator changed the calendar year to line up with the solar calendar and declared 29th as a leap day. The tradition continued in the same way, even after 1582 when Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian Calendar which most of the world now follows today. 

What Does This Extra day Mean for Workers? 
It’s helpful for employers to understand the implications of a leap year, as many of us may wonder if we’re due any adjustments to pay, time off and holiday entitlement. 
Hourly Workers
Employees remunerated on an hourly basis are legally entitled to payment for every hour worked. Consequently, any hours logged on February 29th should be calculated and compensated accordingly, given the accrual of additional work hours on this day.

Salaried Workers
Workers on an annual salary are compensated through a predetermined annual sum, which factors in a leap year's additional day. Unless specifically delineated in employment contracts, these employees should not expect an increase in pay for the extra workday. 
Furthermore, requests for time off on leap day will typically count against their standard holiday allocation.

No Statutory Requirement
Luke Burton, of HR software provider WorkSmarter, said that questions around leap day pay were common but confirmed that there’s no statutory requirement for salaried staff to be paid more because of the extra day. 
“Employees are used to working a slightly different number of days each month,” he said. “Leap years are no different for those on annual salaries because it’s already been factored into their pay. 
“Standard holiday entitlement won’t change either and, while they can request to take the day off, any leave would come out of their usual allocation.
“The key, as always, is for employers to set out the facts so that everyone’s informed, especially if there’s going to be any change to the usual date staff are expecting to be paid.”

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