Millions of workers will miss out on a day’s pay this year - here’s why

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 10:38 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 10:38 am
Will you get an extra day's pay this year? (Photo: Shuterstock)

Millions of workers can look forward to receiving an additional day’s pay this year, while thousands of others will be forced to work an additional day for free.

The extra cash will be added to wages because 2020 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365.

Why will some people miss out?

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Staff who are paid by the hour, or by the amount of work they do, could be entitled to additional pay, if the extra day means they have worked more hours than usual.

However, those who are paid on a salary will not be entitled to any extra cash, meaning they will be forced to work an extra day for free.

A typical year comprises 52 weeks, plus one day - but in a leap year, there are 52 weeks, plus two days. The extra day calls into question whether companies should be paying their employees extra for working one more day than normal. However, this isn’t actually a legal requirement.

Alan Price, chief executive of BrightHR told The Mirror, “Ultimately, an employee’s pay entitlements on February 29, 2020, will depend upon whether they are salaried or receive pay according to the hours they work.

“Employees who receive the same basic pay every month are not entitled to any extra pay despite potentially working on this additional day; this is because, as salaried workers, they are paid a set salary for the year.

“As such, this extra day will be considered to have already been factored into their overall earnings.”

Salaried workers won't receive an additional pay, unless explicitly stated in their contract (Photo: Shutterstock)

Contract dependent

While salaried workers have a set amount of income for the year, it is possible their employment contract may factor in additional pay during a leap year.

Workers are advised to check their contract to see if there is a term explicitly providing an extra day’s pay when it is a leap year.

Those who are on a low salary may also benefit, particularly if their pay is close to the minimum wage, Price explains.

“Employers should also check if the extra day does not send employee pay below the national minimum on average,” he said.

If this is the case, your boss needs to ensure that your overall wage is high enough to more than cover the hourly minimum wage, even including the extra day, or they could face a large fine.

Meanwhile, workers who are paid by the hour rather than the year will be entitled to pay for extra work.

“In this situation, they will be entitled to be paid for all of the time worked, which could mean they receive an additional amount if the extra day means they have worked more hours than usual,” Price added.