29 February 2020

29th February: A free day in more ways than one

A leap year gives us an extra day on February 29th. It comes with all sorts of traditions. Among the better known ones, women can ask their partners to marry them. According to Irish legend, this tradition came about as a result of a deal between St.Bridgit and St.Patrick. Yeah right! 

So as that extra day is today and it's a Saturday, I've time to ponder its significance. As a result, I've questions. Lots of them. Among them, just why is the extra day on February 29th? Why not April 31st or even October 32nd? Whilst we're on the subject, why are there only two successive months with the same number of days? July and August to help you wondering. Could we not have five months of 31 days and seven of 30? According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, we should blame the Romans. It's a third world problem I know.

So as we ponder what we're going to do with this extra opportunity for excellence, maybe we should ask ourselves who's paying for it. If like me your employer pays you an annual salary, you are. Ask yourself why you aren't getting paid more in a leap year than any other year. Yes in a leap year your employer is getting an extra days effort from you for free.

But hang on a minute I hear you say. February 29th is on a Saturday this year, so most of us aren't working. So that's OK. Well except the year is still 366 days long, so we'll still have to work an extra day.

Us annual salaried workers will just have to accept it. We're being used as slave labourers for one day every four years. It's a reality we don't even think about. Better not mention the leap second then!

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