It takes the Earth 365 days and six hours to make one full rotation around the sun. In order to account for those six extra hours, we introduce a leap day every four yearsâ€”tacking on a 29th day to the end of February. We keep our calendar aligned with Earthâ€™s revolutions and everyone gets an extra 24 hoursâ€”seems like a win-win, right?
Well, not for everyone. Salaried employees are typically paid for 261 days of work, but in a leap year they work 262. This results in a very small difference in salaried workersâ€™ pay. If an employee makes $50,000 a year, they make roughly $191.57 a day in wages. But in a leap year they make $190.84. Thatâ€™s a difference of $0.73 each day.
Plus, in order to get to work today, employees have to spend extra on commuting and another dayâ€™s lunch.
And you donâ€™t just lose out at the office. You can also expect to take a hit on bank interest today. When calculating interest rates, banks typically donâ€™t account for Februaryâ€™s extra day. That means theyâ€™ll keep the profits from your money. But donâ€™t get too concernedâ€”when youâ€™re making about 1% annually, it doesnâ€™t add up to much.
Though these losses wonâ€™t break your wallet, some people are calling for leap day to be a national holiday. The online retailer Zappos is giving its 1,600 employees a paid day off today and launching a social media campaign called #TakeTheLeap to make the day a holiday for everyone.
#LeapDay is starting soon! We hope you have a great day, we’ll see you on Tuesday! #TakeTheLeap https://t.co/IPSqnuxmKVâ€” Zappos (@zappos) February 29, 2016
There are some financial benefits to leap daysâ€”Monthly subscription services like cable and Netflix become a bit cheaper. So does insurance and your mortgage. And renters get an extra day for free.
And Leap Year is good for the U.S. GDP, which gets a boost from an extra day of productivity: 1/365th of the GDP is about $50 billion. Thatâ€™s more than the annual GDP of Costa Rica.
As for markets, the results are mixed. Over the last 40 years, the S&P was up for five leap days and down for five. What will today bring?
Holidays & CelebrationsBusiness