Leap year work and holiday rights – who’ll get an extra day’s pay on February 29

There are 366 days in 2020 thanks to the leap year – and that means millions of workers will get an extra day's pay.

But millions more will end up having to work that extra day free, a top employment expert has warned.

"A typical year typically contains 52 weeks plus one day, but, thanks to the extra day in February, leap years have 52 weeks and two days," Alan Price, chief executive of BrightHR, said.

"While this may not be big news for many companies, who will carry on as usual, some may query whether they should be paying their employees extra for the additional day's work."

Sadly, legally speaking at least, an extra day's work doesn't actually mean an extra day's pay for many of us.

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"Ultimately, an employee's pay entitlements on February 29, 2020, will depend upon whether they are salaried or receive pay according to the hours they work," Price explained.

"Employees who receive the same basic pay every month are not entitled to any extra pay despite potentially working on this additional day; this is because, as salaried workers, they are paid a set salary for the year."

And while there might me more days in it, there is still just one year.

"As such, this extra day will be considered to have already been factored into their overall earnings," he said.

But that doesn't mean all hope is lost for people who are paid monthly.

"The only time this may change is if there is a term explicitly providing additional pay during a leap year within their contract," Price explained.

People on low salaries might also benefit – especially if they are close to the minimum wage.

"Employers should also check if the extra day  does not send employee pay below the national minimum on average," he said.

If that's the case, your boss needs to make sure your overall wage is high enough to more than cover the hourly minimum wage even including the extra day – or they could face a big fine.

Things are far simpler for people paid by the hour or by the amount of work they do rather than the year.

"In this situation, they will be entitled to be paid for all of the time worked, which could mean they receive an additional amount if the extra day means they have worked more hours than usual."

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