Leap Day: Workers take a Flying Leap on February 29

It comes but once every 4 years… and workplaces everywhere are in a tizzy putting the finishing touches on their long awaited Leap Day plans. And if you’re one of the estimated 4 million leap day babies running around this planet of ours, you’ll actually get to have your cake and eat it too.

For all those working or blowing out their candles on Feb 29, we present our favorite trivia on Leap Days and Leap Years.... feel free to take the leap - but please, no jumping, skipping or hopping.

Leap Days At the Workplace…

Leap day not a real day? Up until 300 years ago, no official business was actually done on February 29 because it wasn’t considered to be a "true" day - it was believed that no transactions done on the 29th would hold up.

Some workers get Leap Day off… if they promise to pitch in for the environment or their community. The Guardian reported on 2 businesses that are giving February 29 as a paid day off to their workers. National Trust’s 4,800 staff have leap day off, as long as they take part in their "Green Leap Day" initiative, which requires staff to spend the day reducing their carbon footprint. The Feel Good Drinks Company is allowing staff to take a paid “feelgoodness day” in lieu of February 29, where they can volunteer for any project they wish.

Other workers are fighting for a national paid holiday… according to the founder of the National Leap Day Movement, "I for one will certainly NOT be going into work on February 29th…that date should not even exist as far as the business world is concerned. And if anyone wants to attend, there will be a party at my house. (Size of the party is yet to be determined, depending on how many people buy into my idea)."

We suggest celebrating! After all, February 29 is "International Underlings Day"… in 1984, Peter Morris decided that as bosses and secretaries/administrators had their own official days, average workers deserved one too. So he proclaimed that all average underlings get a special day… at least once every four years, on Feb 29.

Unions also want in on the action, with the extra Leap Day’s pay for training… the MSF, the largest union of skilled and professional workers in the UK, has called on all British employers to donate one day’s pay – the equivalent of £880 million or 1.7 B $US – to a new National Training Fund.

Leap Days and Leap Years in popular culture…

"Leaplings" are the affectionate name for those born on leap days... they put up with only celebrating their real birthday once every four years, and have to constantly fight with web sites telling them that Feb 29 isn’t a valid birth date. But on the bright side, if you’re the one in 1500 of us that was born on Feb 29, you can get a free lunch at Boston Market… as long as it’s under $10.

Want to get married for free on Feb 29? Go to Hell… that is, the town of Hell, Michigan, population: 266. According to The Livingston Community News, both a wedding chapel and a non-denominational Christian minister are offering their services for free for any couples wishing to travel to Hell and tie the knot on Feb 29, as long as they "have their heads on straight and their hearts in the right place." We don’t know what gets into the water in Michigan, but there’s also a Paradise, MI and a Climax, MI.

Speaking of marriage… if you’re a single man and want to remain that way, beware of women wearing scarlet petticoats on Feb 29 – or you could be taking a lover’s leap. Traditionally dating back to 5th century Ireland, leap years were the only times that women could legally propose marriage to men. In the 1200s, fines were introduced for men that refused such proposals – such as a kiss or a silk dress - to soften the blow on any distraught women. In many places, women on the hunt for a husband would signal their intentions by sporting scarlet petticoats (a type of underskirt).

Double leap days… in 1712, in an attempt to get back in sync with the Julian calendar, Sweden actually had a double leap day year and created February 30th. Sweden switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1753. The Soviet Union almost had a February 30… an official revolutionary calendar was created in 1929 with 30 days in every "working month", which led to the theoretical inclusion of Feb 30 in the 1932 leap year, but the calendar didn’t catch on and was dropped in 1931.

Take lots of pics to record your Leap Day adventures... sh1ft.org is running their "A Day in the Life" photography project, which invites anyone with a camera to take a photo an hour to document their extra special extra day in photo form. Good for not only sharing your day with other photog geeks, this serves as an hourly reminder to make sure you make the most of February 29th... or else you're going to have a pretty lame set of pictures posted for posterity.

Leap frogs get their due… global conservation organizations have joined together to name this year the Year of the Frog, with many zoos and aquariums offering special events on Feb 29.
But whatever you do this 29th of February, before you leap to conclusions on other Leap Day celebrations, at least reserve a few minutes for yourself to take one fun giant leap from your normal daily routine… whether it’s a leap-of-faith, a leap-frogging session, or even catching a rerun of Quantum Leap.

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