How to Make Money

Do You Work for a Salary? You’re Probably Getting Screwed Today

February 29, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Staff Writer
leap year

Ready to get hit with some Monday truth?

Because it hit me hard this morning. I’m still reeling, and I need to talk to someone about it.

If you work for a salary, you’re getting totally screwed today.

“Oh my god, I work for a salary.”

Did you just say that, like I did? Then stick around.

Salaries are based on a 365-day year, which makes sense — for 75% of our years.

This year has 366 days.

You’re Working for Free on February 29

In case you haven’t been on Facebook yet, let’s catch you up: Today is February 29.

It’s leap day: That extra day in this weirdly shoe-horned month that happens every four years to make up for the fact our calendar doesn’t align perfectly with the solar cycle it’s based on.

If you’re on salary and working today, you’re not being paid any more for it.

And you probably are working today, because it’s Monday and not a bank holiday.

As The Guardian puts it, “29 February is a dirty, capitalist day, geared purely towards the needs of the 1%.”

OK, it’s a little bit of an exaggeration for effect. But this is a real thing no one seems to think about.

How Much Money Are You Losing Working on Leap Day?

Because your 365-day salary is not adjusted to include 366 days this year, you’re technically working an extra day in 2016 — for free.

What does that actually mean?

Let’s say the average U.S. salary is $42,068, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ median weekly earnings.

That’s $115.25 per day — including weekends, holidays and other paid time off.

So every four years, you work the extra day but don’t get the extra $115.25.

If you work for 45 years, you’ll encounter about 11 leap years.

Working for the same salary, that’s $1,267.75 in compensation you’ll never see.

If you were to set that missing money aside into a retirement account — at an even rate of $28.17 each year — it could be worth $9,204.67 by the time you retire.

What to Do With This Information

So, what do we do now?

Rally? Occupy? Tweet about it once the Oscar buzz dies down and people are willing to talk about something new?

In the name of logic, I have to propose we probably do nothing — it’s a tricky problem to solve.

And you could argue your salary already takes leap years into account, with the other three years absorbing this lost day.

But if you’re not satisfied, try negotiating a 366th day of pay or time off with your boss.

Or take a job with an hourly wage.

Or work for yourself.

I, for one, am going to be satisfied with my salaried lot in life. I can always try other tricks to make extra money to save for retirement.

Maybe I’ll just sleep in an extra day sometime later this year.

Your Turn: Do you work for a salary? What do you think about this Leap Day nonsense?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about writing, life, comedy and love for blogs and books and sometimes things people care about, like Huffington Post and that one time she had an article published in the Onion.

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

Share Your Thoughts

Top Articles