This year is a leap year, with 366 days instead of 365. But do you know many of us will work a day for free in 2016? And that leap years don’t happen every four years? Here are all the facts you need to know about leap year.
Why do we have leap years?
We have leap years nearly every four years, which means instead of having 365 days of the year we have 366.
The extra day is added to February as it is the shortest month of the year and so the leap day is on February 29.
Leap years are needed to align our modern day Gregorian calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time that it takes the Earth to complete its orbit around the sun. This takes around 365¼ days (officially 365.242).
This means that if we didn’t add an extra day every four years, we would lose around six hours from our calendar each year, and every 100 years, our calendar would be out of line by 24 days.
The leap year’s extra day is vital because a complete orbit around the sun takes slightly longer than 365 days – 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds longer, to be exact.
Do i get more pay in my pocket?
Workers paid fixed annual or monthly salaries essentially work for free on February 29 because wages are not usually calculated to account for the extra day.
And prisoners with one-year sentences must serve the extra day if the term crosses leap day.
What happens if you're born on February 29?
People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”. The chance of being born on a leap day is one in 1,461. There are five million leaplings around the world.
For centuries, astrologers believed children born on leap day have unusual talents, unique personalities and even special powers. The poet Lord Byron was born on a leap day, as were rapper Ja Rule and footballer Darren Ambrose.
When should leaplings celebrate their birthday?
In Hong Kong the legal birthday of a leapling is March 1 in common years, while in New Zealand it is February 28.
If you timed it right, flying from one country to the other you could enjoy the world’s longest birthday.
However, there are no set rules on when you should celebrate if you are a leap day baby.
On non-leap years, you could choose to have your birthday on either February 28 or March 1
Some leaplings have also died on a leap day. They include James Milne Wilson, the eighth premier of Tasmania, who was born on February 29 1812 and died on February 29 1880.