Are workers entitled to an extra day's pay in a leap year?

There’s an extra day in February this year, but do you need to pay your employees an extra day’s wages?

First published on Wednesday, Feb 07, 2024

Last updated on Thursday, Feb 01, 2024

2 min read

We all know the deal when it comes to leap years. Once every four years we have an extra day in the calendar, the 29th of February.

The last one was in 2020, which makes 2024 a leap year.

This means business as usual for most of us. But employers like you may wonder how this affects your employees’ pay entitlements.

If an employee works an extra day this February that they didn’t work last February, should you give them extra pay?

How to manage leap year wages

Your employee’s pay entitlements on 29th February 2024 will depend on whether you pay them an hourly rate or a set salary. Let’s take a look at the difference…

Workers on an hourly rate

These staff members are entitled to be paid for all of the hours they work.

This means if the 29th falls on a day they would be working anyway, you must pay them as usual.

So, if your employee earns an hourly wage and works an extra eight hours on 29th February due to the leap year, they're entitled to receive their eight hours of pay.

Put simply? You pay your employees as usual for the hours they work.

Salaried workers

On the other hand, employees who receive the same fixed wage every month are not entitled to any extra pay. Despite potentially working an additional day this year.

This is because their salary is fixed for the whole year, and the extra leap year day will have already been factored into their overall earnings.

Keep an eye on the legal rate

That said, you need to be careful that you’re meeting your obligations under the relevant award or industrial instrument that applies to your employees. Especially if you’re paying your employees the national minimum wage.

Still have questions?

Speaking to one of our employment relations advisers can help you get prompt answers to your uncertainty. Receive jargon-free advice on the best ways to manage the leap year and your employee wages, 24/7 with BrightAdvice.

Share this article