Is It Legal For Your Boss To Make You Work A Leap Year Day?

On an annual salary arrangement, you're only paid 365 days a year but this year there are 366 days. You're basically working a day free, right? Is it legal for your boss to make you work that extra day for nothing?

Feb 29 picture from Shutterstock

We briefly touched on this last week in Ask: LH but for those who missed it, let's just get straight to it. Is it legal for employers to make you work on February 29? Absolutely. Is it fair? Well, that all depends on how you look at it.

Most Australians these days have a fixed annual wage calculated based on a standard calendar year made up of 365 days. Naturally, people do feel kind of ripped off on a leap year when they have to work that one extra day. But considering February 29 is not a public holiday, your employers are totally within their rights to make you work today.

Before you get all outraged, think about this: You're still working a five-day week so you probably won't notice the difference. Australian Chamber of Commerce deputy director of workplace relations Alana Matherson also pointed out that it's more than fair for employees to work on a leap year day.

"People who are paid an annual salary are paid precisely that," she told the SMH. "It is not logical to argue that a salaried person should receive more pay in a leap year. This same rationale would mean that a person would have their salary reduced when there were fewer working days in a calendar year."

Another factor to consider is that if you're subscribed to services that you pay for on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, such as a gym memberships or even rent, you've lucked out and got an extra day for free.

So don't feel too bummed out at work today. At the end of the day, everything evens out.

Did you just catch yourself wondering if something was legal or not? Let us know and we may be able to answer it in our next Is It Legal? feature.


Comments

    Another factor to consider is that if you’re subscribed to services that you pay for on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, such as a gym memberships or even rent, you’ve lucked out and got an extra day for free.

    I'm a little confused how this gives you a free day if you pay on a weekly basis.

      Something like health insurance is quoted weekly so it sounds like a small amount, yet could be based on an annual premium (i.e. divide by 365, then times by 7) ?

      Last edited 02/03/16 6:51 pm

    This whole assumption that you have to work an extra day for free is dumb.

    http://australia.workingdays.org/

    2016: 366 days - 250 work days, 105 weekend days and 14 public holidays (3 public holidays on weekend).
    2015: 365 days - 251 work days, 104 weekend days and 14 public holidays (3 public holidays on weekend).
    2014: 365 days - 250 work days, 104 weekend days and 13 public holidays (2 public holidays on weekend).

    We worked an extra day last year when it wasn't a leap year and this year is the same number as 2014.

      Very good thinking there, i never even thought about that aspect.

      I love that site too

      Last edited 01/03/16 8:12 am

    Instead of saying an annual salary is for 365 days, maybe it should be agreed as paying for one trip around the sun.

    This was clearly a question originally from the clock watcher generation of workers.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now