February 29, 2008

February 29th's Leap Day Robs Us All

The idea of February 29th is a cute concept in some ways. It's quadrennial appearance has notoriety, and is a date often targeted by expectant mothers and fathers who think they can keep their children artificially young, by limiting the number of birthdays over their lifetime. But if you think about it, if you're a salaried employee, the very fact we have a February 29th this year means your employer gets this day for free. In fact, every single paycheck you get this year is less because of February 29th, and they never even asked your permission to dock your pay!

What do I mean by this? Well, in 2007, we had 365 days, in 2008, we have 366, and next year, we will have 365. Yet you're paid the same this year, if you're on salary, even though you put in the extra effort!

To make the math easy, let's pretend your salary is such that you take home exactly $73,000 a year. Under this scenario, in 2007, you would take home $200.00 even per day, but in 2008, for the same amount of work, you'd only be taking home $199.45. And those 55 cents can add up. Over the 366-day calendar, your employer has taken away a full day's pay from you. If instead you take home $109,500, that number jumps to $300 in lost pay for similar productivity! (See below chart)

Over time, a few cents a day starts to add up...

And you can see this in every single one of your paychecks. If you get paid over a 14-day pay period, at the $73,000 rate noted above, you would see only $2,792.30 coming home every two weeks, instead of the $2,800.00 you would have received in either 2007 or 2009. That's messed up, right? You think we want to be reminded 26 times this year that employers worldwide have asked us to come into the office and work for free?

I propose that from now on, all salaried employees should have the option of taking February 29th off. After all, if we aren't getting paid, why show up?