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Leap Year (2020) Provides Payroll Wrinkle

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While February typically has 28 days, in leap years—such as the forthcoming 2020—it sprouts a 29th. That can be a headache for HR and payroll professionals—resulting in an extra payday in the calendar year, depending on when and how employees are paid.

The problem of an extra pay period isn't exclusive to leap years. However, it's during leap years that many employers encounter an extra pay period.

For 2020, "whether there will be an extra pay period and paycheck date depends on how the employer has directed that payroll be processed," said Mike Trabold, director of compliance at payroll firm Paychex.

Even in years without an extra day in February, there is the potential for additional paydays if the payroll is weekly or biweekly (every other week) "simply because 365 days do not divide evenly into the seven days of the week," Trabold said.

In any year with 365 days, there will be six days of the week that occur 52 times and one day of the week that occurs 53 times, he explained. In a leap year, with 366 days, there will be five days of the week that occur 52 times and two days of the week that occur 53 times.

Day 2019 2020
Sunday 52 52
Monday 52 52
Tuesday 53 52
Wednesday 52 53
Thursday 52 53
Friday 52 52
Saturday 52 52
Total Days 365 366
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