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Leap year means some employees make more money, while others get paid less

By Tom Yun

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    TORONTO (CTV Network) — It’s once again a leap year in 2024. For some of us, Feb. 29 means an extra day of pay, while others may find themselves having to work for free on the leap day.

Alan Price, CEO of Toronto-based human resources software provider BrightHR, says the leap year is good news for anyone who gets paid hourly.

“Hourly employees that work on Feb. 29 should be paid as per usual. This implies that they should be compensated for all actual hours worked, including the extra day in February, just like any other day,” he told in an email.

Salaried employees who are paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis would also get paid as usual for the extra day. However, some salaried employees are paid monthly or semi-monthly – once on the 15th and once on the last day.

For these salaried employees, Price says it might be “tough luck.”

“If they have worked on Feb. 29, they would not be eligible for additional pay for this extra day unless their employment contract specifically provides otherwise,” Price said.

Salaried employees on minimum wage could actually make less than minimum wage over the course of the year if they work on the leap day . Price says employers should take the leap year into account in order to be in compliance with provincial minimum wage legislation.

“A viable solution to this could be paying such employees for the extra hours worked or providing new employees with an annual wage slightly higher than minimum wage requirements,” he said.

“As a best practice, ensure you have documentation in place that accounts for the hours worked and hours paid to the employee.”

Some employers already factor leap years when it comes to calculating the amount per pay period. For example, the Public Service Agency of Canada takes the annual salary and divides it by 26.088 to determine the bi-weekly pay. Because of the leap year, one year has an average of 365.24 days, and 365.24 divided by 14 is 26.088.

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