Have you budgeted for the leap year?

The extra day in February is a fantastic time to get organized; it’s time we’ve banked over the past four years, letting us synchronize our calendar with how our planet actually moves around the sun. Sounds deep? It is!

It was almost three thousand years ago when the Egyptians first noticed that the planet wasn’t playing by the rules of the calendar they’d devised. The Romans caught it too, assigning the extra time built up to a day in the second month of the year, starting the tradition of extending every fourth year on February 29th. In the 16th century we finally devised the modern Gregorian calendar which is a better representation of time, tracking our yearly trip around the sun every 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 48 seconds. Our planet is many things, punctual being one of them.

How can a leap year affect your small business?

For those with staff on salary, congratulations: depending on how you do your accounting you may get an extra day’s worth of work out of your team without any extra pay. For those with hourly workers, a leap year is an added cost, adding an additional payable day to your year.

Things can get even more serious when you’re working with pay periods. A leap year takes our total number of days in the year from 365 to 366, a number that doesn’t divide well by 7, making bi-weekly pay periods a problem.  Though 2012 isn’t one of them, this extra day can take you from 52 pay periods to 53. Keep your eye on these rogue days, as they need to be budgeted for when they happy.

So what can you do with the extra leap day? Traditionally it was the day that St. Patrick granted women the right to propose marriage–an idea that’s a little more than outdated. Instead, take the time to catch up on those tasks that seem to get away from you: filing, shredding, and organizing your calendar. It only happens once every four years–you owe it to yourself to make the most of it!

By Adam

February 27, 2012