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HR Expert Reveals Who’s Entitled to an Extra Day’s Pay This Leap Year

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There’s an extra day this February, thanks to 2024 being a leap year. This year, Leap Day falls on a Thursday, which means many of us will have to work an additional day without being paid for it. But that’s not the case for everyone.

There are millions of people across the UK who are entitled to an extra day’s wages. Vicky Walker, group director of people at Westfield Health revealed what you need to know:

Who’ll get an extra day’s wages this leap year?

An employee’s entitlement to an extra day’s pay on 29th February depends on whether they’re on an hourly rate or a set salary.

If you’re on an hourly rate, you’ll be paid for the additional hours you work. So, if you work more hours than you normally would in February, you’ll see the reward in your pay packet.

Sadly, if you’re on a set salary, it’s unlikely that you’ll be paid for the extra day. This is because your employer will have already factored the additional day into your annual salary. Currently, there are no laws surrounding this occurrence.

However, it’s worth checking your employment contract, as some employers include a special clause that entitles you to more pay every leap year.

Familiarising yourself with the national minimum wage is also recommended. Entry-level employees on a salary may earn less than the minimum wage. If this is you, your hourly rate will drop when working an extra day in February. If this is the case, it’s best to speak with your employer to make sure you’re not underpaid.

Should I speak to my boss? 

For many of us, the extra day this leap year will mean having to work more hours for no additional pay. Employers should be ready to communicate this openly to their employees, ideally as part of a wider discussion around workplace well-being.

Post-pandemic, we’re seeing a significant increase in people prioritising a healthy work-life balance. People are more interested in improving their quality of life than ever before, so it’s important for employers to accommodate this.

Since this leap day falls on a weekday, it’s good practice for employers to check in on the mental well-being of their employees. This should be a regular check-in anyway, but especially with an extra working day. 

Research shows that employers who have genuine workplace well-being strategies in place are far more likely to have happier, healthier, and more productive employees. So, if you’re feeling stressed or worried about your workload, it’s important to speak to your line manager or HR about your work-life balance.

“For those who live paycheck to paycheck, having an extra day to budget for can contribute to financial stress, which is intrinsically linked to our mental well-being. Having transparent communication and well-thought-out well-being strategies in place will help teams feel their worries are being acknowledged. This financial well-being guide is also a helpful resource to keep in check with your well-being during the cost of living crisis,” says mental well-being coach Cathy Lawson. 

How can businesses make their people feel appreciated?

With many salaried employees working an extra day for free, going the extra mile to boost their well-being won’t go unnoticed. There are various options that HR teams and employers can explore, from bigger gestures like fun activities to small appreciations like a free lunch or extra snacks.

The key is to think about your team and what can be offered to care for their well-being. Asking for feedback from line managers and those closer to the ground will help you understand their pain points and what excites them. From there, you can decide what to offer on Leap Day.

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