Should I be paid an extra day's wages because 2024 is a leap year?

An extra day in February caused by 2024 being a leap year could mean millions of workers spend an extra day at work for no extra pay.

Are you entitled to an extra day’s pay this year? James Webster reports

Millions of workers could be working an extra day this year with no increase in their wages.

As 2024 is a leap year with 366 days rather than 365, it means employees will work one more day than usual in February.

The calendar adjustment usually happens every four years to keep calendars in line with the movement of the earth around the sun.

The earth takes around 365-and-a-half days to orbit the sun which means that over time our calendar gradually gets out of sync with the planetary movements. To compensate we need to add an occasional extra day to the calendar which is February 29.

The earth takes just over 365 days to orbit the sun which means our calendar gradually gets out of sync with the planetary movements / Credit: ITV News

Leap years occur whenever a year is divisible by four, for example 2024. The exception to that rule is when the year marks the start of a century when the year must also be divisible by 400 to qualify as a leap year. (2000 was a leap year but 2100 will not be a leap year.)

This year, February 29 falls on a Thursday, meaning many people will spend their extra day at work – something which has prompted some to ask their employers whether it will mean an extra day’s wages or an entitlement to an extra day off.

Bright HR is one company which has noticed an increase in queries about the extra day and has shared an article explaining who will be eligible for an increase in their pay.

The situation varies depending how the worker is paid.

Workers paid by the hour

Staff paid by the hour are entitled to be paid for all the time they work.

If they work an extra eight hours of work on February 29 then they are entitled to an extra eight hours of pay.

Workers paid by annual salary

Staff who have an annual salary are paid a set amount for the whole year. The extra day will already have been included in the calculation of their overall earnings and will not be entitled to extra pay for the extra day of work, unless their contract says otherwise.

Similarly, while they can request to take the day off, any time off would come out of their usual holiday entitlement.

Thea Watson, from Bright HR, says while those paid an annual salary may not get any extra money, if they are paid at the end of the month it is worth checking if the extra day affects when their wages will reach their bank account.

“Any good employer will have a strong policy and in the documentation it will clearly outline your payment terms,” said Ms Watson.

“Obviously with this being a leap year, we do see more questions related to this. This is just how it is. It is an extra day every four years, but the key thing is to have clear communication between manager and employee.”

So in short, if you are wondering whether you will be getting any extra wages this leap year the answer is maybe, but probably not.

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