Extra day, extra pay? Leap year HR explainer

Keith Canavan

February 06 2020

The earth will take 366 days to orbit the sun this year. “So what?” you might say. But, if you’re running a business, that extra day can lead to some head-scratching questions from your staff.

To avoid any leap year confusion, we look at the two most common brainteasers you may face.

“Why am I working the extra day?”

If you have staff who work shifts, you’ll know that it’s impossible to please everyone when you’re compiling rotas. If you throw an extra workday into the mix, the potential for employee grumbling goes through the roof.

Ahead of February 29th, try to manage pushback from staff by planning for it early. Communicate your proposed rota to staff well in advance and establish which employees might be open to working the leap day.

For help building, drafting and making changes to rotas in minutes, check out our online HR software and app.

“Do I give my staff an extra day’s pay?”

Some employees might raise this legitimate question, so it’s important to know your rights as an employer.

Like all legal questions, the answer is it depends. If your employees are paid hourly based on the number of hours worked, you’ll need to ensure they’re paid for the extra day’s work.

If your employees are salaried staff, they will not be entitled to get any extra pay subject to the terms of your employment contract. In the unlikely event that the contract states employees are paid more for working a leap day, you’ll need to comply with the terms of the contract.

So, it’s worth checking the employment contract before confirming your payroll.

Don’t forget the national minimum wage rate

The biggest risk you face from this year’s extra day’s work is the possibility that your employees’ hourly rate of pay will dip below the national minimum wage.

The national minimum wage increased to €10.10 on February 1st and is calculated based on the number of hours worked. If salaried employees are close to minimum wage, make sure to double-check that their extra hours in February don’t bring their hourly rate below the legal minimum.  

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on this or any other HR issue from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923 or request a callback here.

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