POSTED: February 20 2024
A guide to this months’ “extra day”

Leap Year: A guide to this months’ “extra day”

advo HR Consultant, Sam Brown, guides employers on what they need to know about this months’ “extra day”.

Sam Brown, advo HR Consultant.

It only happens once every four years but what should employers know about “leap day”?

Started by Julias Caesar in 45 BCE it has evolved over time to mean that once, every 4 years, we get an extra day in February on our calendars, the 29th.  The intention is to keep the calendar and seasons in sync each year. Let’s face it, January felt long enough, no one wants winter in June!

But as an employer, does this mean that you need to pay your employees for working this extra day?

The answer is not straightforward, but below we attempt to explain how you can ensure you are paying your staff correctly and avoid facing falling foul of the law or risking commendatory fines.

Firstly, a lot of employers will pay their staff on the last working day of the month. if that’s you, then it might be a good idea to let your staff know that their pay will be a day later. It’s helpful information to have in advance to manage their finances.

Furthermore, there’s not specific legislation around working on the 29th February so how do you know if you should pay your employees for working the extra day? Well, it depends on their individual pay structure in their contract of employment.

Some employees are paid hourly and have a weekly pay reference. In these cases, having an extra day doesn’t alter the standard 7 day week to an 8 days week, therefore if this applies to any of your employees then their pay isn’t affected.  Likewise, for salaried workers i.e. those who have an annual salary for which they receive 1/12 each month they would be expected to work as normal and don’t have the right to receive to additional pay for the extra day.

If your employee is hourly paid on a monthly basis then as an employer you should be paying them for 21 days rather than 20 days. So, employees with this type of pay structure do, indeed, have a claim to pay for Thursday 29th February.

A further consideration is the right for employees to receive the minimum wage. Currently at £10.42 per hour, some employers might have salaried staff whose payments are around the minimum wage mark so do check that by working the extra leap hours the employee doesn’t then fall below the minimum wage.

Although it feels like a special day, actually February 29th is not a recognised public holiday despite public petition for it to have this status, so if your employees are contracted to work Thursdays, it’s business as usual…

For further information on your HR and payroll needs please contact advo.