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Will You Be Working For Free On Leap Day?

Wednesday is Leap Day, a day that doesn't exist except in presidential election years. For hourly workers, Leap Day means an extra day of pay. For salaried workers...well, enjoy working for free!

It's simple math, really. If you're a salaried worker paid to work for 365 days and this year has 366 days, then it means you're not getting paid for the extra freak day on the calendar. As if work doesn't suck enough, you'll be giving your employer eight hours (or more) of your time this week, gratis.

Of course, you might choose to look at Leap Day as a way to make up for some of the slacking you've done over the last three years. You know, all the days you ran late, the Friday you called in sick because you didn't feel like driving, the extra minutes you've spent running personal errands on the clock, the one time (ahem) you procrastinated -- hey, it all averages out, right? Maybe you owe your employer this day of actuarial atonement. It's the least your can do for doing the least you could do.

You might also look at Leap Day as a recalculation in daily pay. For example, if your annual salary is $40,000, then you can recalculate your daily 2012 pay rate as slightly lower because of the extra day on the calendar. You're still getting paid the same salary, you're just earning a little bit less per day this year. Nice, huh? Actually, this thinking is sort of a productivity and morale buster so scratch that idea.

Chances are, your company's payroll department has found a few ways to deal with the Leap Day pay anomaly. After all, you can't divide 366 by 7 and get an even number. It's never going to happen; you'll always end up creating a remainder that throws everything off. These are the things that drive payroll managers crazy while you're wasting time at your desk or shooting the breeze on the shop floor.

In payroll managers' minds, however, Leap Day 2012 won't suck nearly as much as Leap Day 2004, which was apparently a payroll cluster*%$# of epic proportions. Why, you ask? Because Leap Day means two days of the week will occur 53 times in a calendar year instead of 52 times, and Leap Day 2004 fell at the end of the work week (Thursday-Friday), which is payday for a lot of people and oh crap, someone get the good calculators and a bowl of cereal because we're going to be here for awhile running the numbers. Fun, fun, fun, fun.

But that was then and this is now. Plus, you don't have to get into this level of detail; you just need to get your salaried butt to work on time. For free or reduced pay, depending on how you wish to look at it. Just don't look at your hourly co-workers who might have an extra bounce in their step on Wednesday as they wonder what to do with their Leap Day windfall. No, think about something else. I've been trying to think of innovative ways to turn this Wednesday into "send a well-paying assignment to a freelance writer day," but that's probably about as likely as dividing 366 by 7 and ending up with an even number. Maybe I'll just have a bowl of cereal instead.


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