the Leap Day employee finally gets her birthday off this year

It’s Leap Day on Saturday, and that means we must revisit this letter (and its update) about an employee born on Leap Day who isn’t allowed to have her birthday off except every four years.

Telling an employee born on Leap Day she can’t have her birthday off (the original)

One of the perks provided by my workplace is a paid day off on your birthday (or the day after if it falls on a weekend or holiday) provided by the firm and not taken from your own vacation days, and a gift card which works at several restaurants in our city. Once a month, a cake is also provided at lunch for everyone as an acknowledgement of everyone who has a birthday that month.

There is an employee on my team who was born in a leap year on February 29. Since she only has a birthday every four years, she does not get a day off or a gift card and is not one of the people the cake acknowledges. She has complained about this and is trying to push back so she is included.

The firm doesn’t single out or publicly name anyone that has a birthday. People take the day off and that is it, nothing is said. The gift card is quietly enclosed with their pay stub. The cake is put in the lunchroom without fanfare for anyone that wants some. There is no email or card that goes around and no celebrating at work. If there was I could see her point, but since everything is done quietly/privately, she is not losing out on anything. My manager feels her complaints are petty and she needs to be more professional. I agree with him.

She has only worked here for two years and was hired straight out of university. I want to tell her that she should be focusing on work issues and not something as small as a birthday. If she had a complaint about a work issue it would be different. How do I frame my discussion with her without making her feel bad or like she is trouble? Her work is good and I am sure the complaint is just borne of inexperience and I don’t want to penalize her for it.

What?! She doesn’t only have a birthday every four years — she has one every year like everyone else. (Surely you don’t believe that she only advances in age every four years, right?) She might need to celebrate her birthday on February 28 or March 1 in non-leap years, but it’s not true that she doesn’t have a birthday and it’s absolutely unfair and wrong for your office to give her fewer days off than other people because of this. She should get the day off, she should get the gift card, and she should be acknowledged with the other birthdays at the same time.

It makes no sense to demoralize someone over something so easily fixed, and it’s very odd that you and your manager are digging in your heels on this. It’s not about her being inexperienced or petty, and it’s alarming that you and your manager think that! This is about you and your manager not looking logically at what you’re doing (and, frankly, being petty yourselves). You two are wrong, she is right, and you should remedy this and apologize to her for mishandling it.

And the update (originally here):

I just wanted to give an update and to clarify a few things. I am the employee’s manager. For some reason some people in the comments thought I was a “coworker” or “team lead.” 

One person guessed I was not American. I don’t know why they were jumped all over but they were correct. I am Canadian. I live and work outside of North America.

Some people mentioned Jehovah’s Witnesses and not being allowed to celebrate birthdays and the legality of this in the comments. This is not relevant to the situation with my employee. Also, it is considered a cult here and is banned. No one who works here is a Jehovah’s Witness.

People seemed to be unclear on the policy even though I stated it. Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary. They are paid and don’t have use their own time off. If their birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the first working day off. There is no changing the date. They must take their actual birthday or the first working day back (in case of a weekend or holiday). People love the policy and no one complains about the mandatory day off or the gift card.

She had worked here for 2 years. She did get her birthday off in 2016 as it was a leap year. She did not get a day off in 2017 as it is not a leap year and didn’t get this year either. If she is still employed here in 2020 she will get a Monday off as the 29th of February is on a Saturday. This is in line with the policy. Some of the comments were confused about whether she ever had a birthday off.

The firm is not doing anything illegal by the laws here. She would have no legal case at all and if she quit she will not be able to get unemployment. She is not job hunting. She has known about the birthday policy since February of 2016 and has been bringing it up ever since. She has complained but has not looked for another job (the market is niche and specialized). Morale is high at the firm. Turnover among employees is low. Many people want to work here. Aside from this one issue she is a good worker and would be given an excellent reference if she decides to look elsewhere in the future.

Alison here. I don’t usually add anything of my own on to updates, but I want to state for the record that this is insane.

{ 842 comments… read them below }

      1. Meredith*

        FOR REAL. This letter is probably one of the only ones I think about from time to time and get absolutely STEAMED about. I actually got excited when I saw this, thinking we had an actual update to the update, but alas, LW is still a jerk.

        1. MCL*

          SAME. Oh my gosh, it’s just so petty and ridiculous. I can’t believe the OP has convinced themselves that it’s totally logical. It’s just so mean, in every sense of the word.

          1. Van Wilder*

            I have never gotten over this one. Not only the fact that the OP is being so petty and stubborn, but that they seem insistent on denying logic itself.

            1. Hills to Die On*

              Yes! It’s like she has no idea why this would be a problem. This company is so freaking weird.

            2. AnotherAlison*

              And not just stubborn about the leap day birthday, which is insane, esp. considering that other employees with weekend birthdays must take the F/M off, but also insane about forcing people to take their birthday off.

              1. Reality.Bites*

                A company where I once worked (in Canada, as it happens) had a floating holiday that you could take whenever you wished and it was once floated (sorry) that it should be made the employee’s workday.

                Because if there’s one thing more fun than working, it’s spending your birthday alone while everyone you know is working! It didn’t happen, and people continued to use it when they wish.

                And by the way, in Canada the leap year employee WOULD have a case. It’s blatant, targeted discrimination.

                1. Madeleine Matilda*

                  Actually I love to take my birthday off and treat myself to a day of doing what I want by myself. I think the forced day off is wrong though because not everyone enjoys celebrating their birthday, wants to celebrate alone, or celebrates at all due to religious reasons.

                2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

                  One year when I was working as a cashier at Target, I wore a goofy hat and a button for my birthday and a few people were like “Aw, it must suck to be working on your birthday,” and I said “Heck no, I’ve gotten more happy birthday wishes today than on any other birthday ever!”

                3. scaryspicy*

                  I always take my floating holiday on my birthday. I don’t work on my birthday if I don’t have to. But then again, I like spending the day on my own and then getting dinner with friends in the evening.

                4. Librarian of SHIELD*

                  I think the floating holiday option is better than a mandatory birthday holiday. I love taking my birthday off, because I can get a massage and take myself out for lunch at places my family doesn’t like. Other people would want their floating holiday to be something they can spend with other people. Keeping the floating holiday as floating and not as a requirement lets people use it how they want, and that’s a much better birthday present than having your birthday off from work.

                5. Krabby*

                  “And by the way, in Canada the leap year employee WOULD have a case. It’s blatant, targeted discrimination.”
                  I actually don’t think that’s true. To be fair, IANAL, but your birthday is not a protected class here (race, gender, etc.) so it wouldn’t be protected under discrimination laws. I don’t even think you could count this as harassment, bullying or constructive dismissal.
                  Maaaaybe she could get something in civil court, but I don’t know.
                  Either way, the Letter Writer is off the scale out of touch and petty.

                6. TiffIf*

                  Because if there’s one thing more fun than working, it’s spending your birthday alone while everyone you know is working!

                  Actually this is a perfect birthday for me.

                  I used to work at a company that gave everyone two floating holidays–I always took my birthday. Once I moved to a company that didn’t have floating holidays I kept the tradition and take PTO for my birthday (which was this past Monday incidentally).

                7. CanadianUnionRep*

                  Work in labour relations in Canada. No case for “birthday discrimination” under human rights laws. But if the person was in a union and the collective agreement had an article that management exercise its rights in a fair and reasonable manner, I’d love to see the look on an arbitrator’s face when management tried to defend this policy.

                8. GeoffreyB*

                  @Krabby: could perhaps be argued that this is age-related discrimination, though probably not in the meaning that was intended.

                9. MAC*

                  My birthday is today (Friday) and I absolutely used floater hours to take it off. I’m single and live alone and would be just fine with spending it alone while others work. I love time to myself. But I agree it shouldn’t be REQUIRED.

                  I do think about this letter a lot – with a Feb 28 bday, I’ve heard “oooh, you were almost a Leap Year baby” my whole life. No, because it wasn’t Leap Year, so if anything I was almost a March 1 baby.

                  I do have a nephew who was born on Leap Day. He’ll be 12 tomorrow and apparently is good and tired of his younger brother teasing him that he’s only 3!

                10. BasicWitch*

                  I feel like by their logic, someone should report them for child labor. The leap year birthday employee is technically, what, 4 years old? The scandal.

              2. valentine*

                forcing people to take their birthday off
                I wonder if OP would come around via thinking of not enforcing the policy for this person as unfair to the other employees.

                1. Lashatumbai*

                  I believe there IS a case here, simply because other employees are receiving compensation that she is not, in the form of a paid day off. Here in the states that is considered part of your pay and she is not receiving the same as other employees based simply on her birthday. It may not be a protected class, but I think she would have a case were she to pursue it.

            3. Exasperation x 4*

              I’ve always been amazed that AFTER the original letter got hundreds of comments all trying to explain the craziness of this policy, instead of accepting Alison’s response or any of the comments, the letter writer comes back with a update that assumes that Alison and hundreds of incredulous readers have all misunderstood, so she tries to “clarify” all the reasons that this policy still makes sense to her.

              If the person with the February 29 birthday still works there, she should get 4 days off and 4 gift cards this year.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Some people can never admit when they’re wrong. Not ever. If they told you lava was cold, and you pointed out to them that it is indeed hot, they would burn to death in the fires of Mount Doom before ever acknowledging that they may in fact have been mistaken.

              2. Jen S. 2.0*

                Right? She should totally get the 27th, 28th, 2nd, and 3rd off, and I hope she is lying on a Caribbean beach with a pina colada RIGHT NOW.

                1. Face palm*

                  Great, I’m not sure what’s worse – making everyone think that Canadians would believe LW’s policy is acceptable or making everyone think that Canadians believe birthday discrimination is a thing.

                  Also, for the record, I think Lw’s attitude about the whole thing (that leap day employee is unreasonable) is almost worse than them withholding the benefits of having a birthday. It would be one thing if they only gave the day off when the birthday falls on a workday. But they already let them use it on the next business day! Why can’t OP have her day on the first business day after February 28 at midnight??

              3. Anonymous Contribution*

                And often, in doubling down on their opinion, they expose the very holes that get them in trouble.

                I.e: she only has a birthday once every four years.

                Wait, you think she’s only twelve? Why the hell are you hiring children then? That’s illegal you know?

              4. Suzy Q*

                The doubling down on this petty policy is almost shocking. I say almost because the original letter was so bonkers, I really didn’t expect this person to change their evil ways. Their heels and well and truly dug in. Also, if this applied to them, I highly doubt they would be as equivocal about it.

              5. MarsJenkar*

                It’s telling that the strongest argument in favor of the policy is “it’s legal”…which can only be a truly strong argument if the alternative is *not*.

              6. LabTechNoMore*

                It reminded me of conversations I’ve had with soooooo many former managers and HR reps. It’s satire without the satire.

            4. Wowowowow*

              I can’t believe that there are TWO people who feel the same way! The manager and their manager – perhaps the only two people in the world who feel that way

            5. Mike Ll*

              Has anyone pointed out that if, as acknowledged by the manager, the employee only has a birthday every four years, then she’s only 7 or 8 and employing her full time is a massive violation of child labor laws ?

          2. aebhel*

            It’s such a *weird* thing to dig their heels in about. Like–why!? What on earth could you possibly gain from being so mean-spiritedly pedantic about this? Especially since they apparently give extra days off for birthdays that fall on weekends, but nope, if you’re born on February 29, you only have a birthday once every four years (in which case I don’t understand why they hired someone who is, by their insane counting method, no more than 5 years old)

              1. Candi*

                When I first read the initial letter, my next step was to Ctrl + F “pirates”.

                Yep, the Pirates of Penzance fans had already been commenting in full force. :)

                I don’t like to wish unemployment on people most of the time, but in this case, I did hope Bad Manager would lose her job. The thought patterns that lead to such ridiculous behavior rarely compartmentalize, and it’s likely most aspects of her work (and her life) are affected. That makes for a terrible worker.

                I doubt anyone in that place would even hint they were job searching around her. And the Pointy-Haired Boss thought morale was high most of the time, too.

              2. MCMonkeyBean*

                Since Leap Day is on a Saturday this year I really wanted to have a Pirates of Penzance party but I couldn’t get enough friends on board.

                1. heatherbelles*

                  I read this before leaving the house, switched the radio on in the car, and first song playing was ‘Cat Like Tread’ from Pirates of Penzance.

                  I was howling with laughter at the sheer timing!

                  (I mean I’m guessing they chose to play it today as part of the programming because tomorrow is the 29th, but the precise moment I was listening to it today?)

                2. Mabel*

                  I’ve been enjoying these comments. I am the “Grand Pooh-bah” of a Gilbert and Sullivan Society and we are celebrating Frederic’s birthday with a Pirates of Penzance Sing-a-long!

            1. ChildLaborLaws*

              Ya know, if they are arguing that fact and taking the position that the employee is 5 years old then they might be in trouble under child labor laws. I hope the employee figures this out and finds a way to use this. I’m sure there’s a argument that a legal mind can make here to persuade this company to change.

              1. Anonymous Contribution*

                By my understanding, a lot of laws don’t actually care if a law is broken, per se, but whether the accused thought they were breaking the law (e.g.: if my boss discriminated against me because I’m Mexican, he still gets in trouble even though I’m actually not).

                It would be interesting to see whether a case could be pulled for this, on the basis that the letter writer clearly believes that the employee only ages once every four years and thus is a child.

                I doubt it would get very far, but I’m sure that a competent lawyer could take such a case far enough that egg ends up on face and much backtracking ensues

            2. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

              Yes- this is very weird. Really, just…odd. I’d love to understand why the LW is so defensive about this and keeps digging her heels in about this. It’s an awful way to treat an employee. As others have said previously, it would be so simple to just give the employee the day off, a gift card, etc. on Feb. 28th or March 1st. Problem solved. Why the insistence on only celebrating the employee’s birthday every 4 years after the employee made it known that it bothers her and so many people have confirmed that not acknowledging the employee’s birthday each year is just wrong? That’s just psychotic.

              1. debw*

                the employee was born on the 60th day of the year, regardless of the date. she should receive the same perks as every one else

              2. Rainy*

                Some people get a little power and they just loooooove to swing it around. Thus, I suspect, it is with the LW.

              3. scribblingTiresias*

                Not to derail, but- can we not use ‘psychotic’ as a synonym for ‘pointlessly cruel’? There’s a lot of decent people out there with conditions like schizophrenia, and using ‘psychotic’ as an insult hurts and dehumanizes them.

                1. nonegiven*

                  Psychosis: an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not.

                  Psychosis is characterized by an impaired relationship with reality.

                  Thinking that the employee doesn’t have a birthday every year, like everyone else, is denying reality.

            3. The Rules are Made Up*

              SO weird! It would be one thing if this rule was actually as strict as she’s pretending it is (like if your birthday falls on a weekend you don’t get a day off because the next workday isn’t actually your birthday) but clearly since weekend birthdays still get a day off the actual logical thing to do is treat this the same way and give her the 28th off.

              This is just SUCH A WEIRD THING TO BE SO STUBBORN ABOUT.

        2. Lilo*

          I have a very dirty lens being a leap day baby myself but I am glad to see other people agree.

          I really haven’t seen anyone this weird about a leap day birthday since I was in middle school.

          It reminds me a bit a Frederick’s affliction from Penzance.

          1. Nessun*

            Leap Day always reminds me of Penzance and the LW’s unhappy coworker. I hope she’s doing better (and working for someone who understands why the work policy wasn’t being fairly applied if she didn’t get a day off!)

            1. Tiny Soprano*

              Just heard in my head “For I was booooooorn in Leap Year! And that birthday will not be reached by me ’till niiiiiiiineteeeeen forty!”
              “Oh horrible! Catastrophe appalling!”

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            Happy early birthday! Do you count your “actual” birthday years as well as your real age? I’ve always thought it would be so fun to celebrate 2 birthdays every 4 years: your real age and your Leap Day age. Like how Leslie threw Jerry a Sweet Sixteen birthday for his 64th birthday in Parks and Rec. But also have a second 64th birthday party. Just because.

            1. TooTiredToThink*

              I wish I could remember where I read it – it was a few days ago, but it was a fun piece about Leap Year birthdays and there were a couple of comments in it about how Leap Year birthdays are sometimes less fun because they only celebrate on the 29th, but that in other years they tend to celebrate on the 28th and the 1st. I thought that was pretty cool.

              1. cheddaronrye*

                Leap year baby here–YUP! On non-leap years I get two days, but on leap years I only get one AND the added pressure of everyone wanting to celebrate with me on the actual day. So this year instead of going to a quiet dinner with my boyfriend one night and celebrating with dinner with a few friends the second night, we have to throw a big party so everyone can be involved. Absolutely not the worst problem in the world to have, obviously, but as an introvert it’s kind of stressful!

                1. Third or Nothing!*

                  Fascinating. I can see how that would be stressful feeling like you HAVE to go all out on leap years. Then again my idea of going all out for my 30th was to do an otter encounter and invite friends to come eat cake at my favorite super chill local brewery at some point during the afternoon. I’m so cool y’all.

                2. Leslie Knope*

                  A good friend of mine’s birthday is Dec. 30th, when everyone is worn out from the holidays and resting up for New Year’s Eve. We celebrate a week or two into January for him. He says it makes him feel so much happier to have everyone come back refreshed! (Plus, we can always pick a Fri/Sat instead of celebrating on the actual day when it happens to be Wednesday…)

                  Lucky for you, this year your birthday is on a Saturday! I’m sure you’re already aware of this, but I got excited for you when I just looked at the calendar. Have a good time! Happy Birthday!

        3. Hummer on the Hill*

          SAME. The LW and crew are so oddly rigid about it. It makes me wonder what other bizarre hills they are choosing to die on. Everything else at that place can’t be wonderful, can it? Hope the employee gets a better job some day.

          1. Hey Nonnie*

            LW’s internal logic isn’t even consistent. Employees have to take their birthday off or the closest workday to it. The closest workday would either be Feb. 28 or March 1. I can see having a discussion which day it is, and deciding that the perk must always be taken on Feb. 28 (for example), but not attempting to decree that this employee only has a birthday once every four years.

            This employee is essentially getting paid less than her co-workers, so I’m not convinced that the company is on such firm legal ground as LW thinks they are.

            I really wish we had another update to this one.

            1. Fact & Fiction*

              It’s so mind-boggling, because by the LW’s own ridiculous reasoning the employee isn’t even legally old enough to be employed! Because “obviously” they only have an actual birthday every four years…

        4. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          Yes. It will pop into my head when it’s a coworker’s birthday or something and my mind starts, “remember THIS BULLSHIT?”

      2. Sharkie*

        When the update was posted in December 2018 someone posted about sending report a gift basket on Feb 28th and March 1 and sign the card AAM Comment section. I wish we did that. Also OP if you are still here please give another update.

        1. Super Duper*

          Yes! I wish the update had explained *why* the OP felt so strongly about this that it was worth putting up with the complaining and potentially alienating a good employee. Truly bizarre.

              1. BBA*

                Aye, beware of the children born under the leap of the year, as they prepare the way for the goddess Logic, and will fill the river valleys and offices with the sensible and fair policies.

                1. pope suburban*

                  I am deeply relieved that I was not drinking anything when I read this.

                  But also, the people holding to this horrible policy might not have souls and I am concerned with what happens if someone doesn’t hire a wizard or monster hunter to do something about that. Like…yiiiikes.

          1. Sparrow*

            Especially because they already had a practice of giving off the next work day when the employee wasn’t working on their calendar birthday. Which is exactly her situation!! I am still so baffled (and honestly pretty miffed) by this.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              THAT’S the baffling part. If other employees didn’t get a lieu day if their birthday fell on a non-working day, I could just about cope (no fun for the Christmas babies either).

              But when every other person in the building gets to take off “the work day immediately following the moment they legally change age*” and Leap Baby doesn’t get to take off the work day immediately following the moment they legally change age … NOPE.

              * I am increasingly enjoying the phrasing “level up” for adding one to your official chronological age.

              1. Jen S. 2.0*

                This. “The day they legally change age” was a concept about which this person was being willfully and obtusely dense.

                I have heard of Leap Day babies deciding always to celebrate on Feb 28 because their birthday is in February, and I have heard of LDBs deciding always to celebrate on March 1 because they haven’t changed age yet on Feb 28.

                But however you slice it, objectively and factually, they have lived another year as of March 1. Like, what is difficult about this?

                1. Face palm*

                  Can I just say… I always wondered about “the day we legally change age”. Specifically, why don’t birthdays change when you change time zones?? I know logically that it would mess everything up, but it’s still good for thought. I once had a friend with a birthday one day after mine… she travelled across the world for a few years, and one year our birthdays overlapped for 12 hours because she was in a time zone where it was already the next day.

                  But yeah, as the parent of a Christmas baby and an almost leap day baby (stayed in for an extra week but it would have been cool!), this whole thing just blows my mind. What is the purpose of the policy?? This entirely negates any sort of employee engagement benefits that would go with giving this out. Not just with leap day employee but also with everyone who knows they don’t get it for a really random reason.

                2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                  Oh lawks, Face palm – I can’t even parse that logically!

                  I’m going for a lie down.

      3. Mommy.MD*

        Me too. I know it’s against TOS and I apologize in advance but LW is a blithering idiot. Her birthday is the day after Feb 28. Period. A four year old could figure this out.

        1. Half-Caf Latte*

          but – a four year old four year old or all of the folks turning “four” on Saturday and then heading directly to the DMV?

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Hahahaha! I was just thinking, if the LW really wants to die on this hill, I hope the employee sues her for violating child labor laws, since OBVIOUSLY she’s only had 5 or 6 birthdays so far, so she MUST be only 5 or 6 years old!

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          I will also confess that this is one of the few instances in which I have had an incredibly difficult time having charitable thoughts or assumptions about a letter-writer. The incongruous logic on birthday v. age, the insistence on ignorant pedantry (because, if we’re going to get REALLY technical about it, the employee’s birthday is February 29, February 28.25, February 28.5, February 28.75, and February 29, the middle of which I believe that we could all reasonably interpret at March 1), the accusation that the excluded staff member is the petty one (v. LW and their boss), and the writing back in to address minor, irrelevant comments while doubling-down on being “right”.

          I just think that this OP is a ass and not terribly bright. Not miss-your-own-graduation-level ass, but definitely in the equus/asinus genus.

          1. Mamunia*

            I totally agree. When I first read the headline I thought it meant they had relented and was sincerely disappointed to realize it was just a repost of the original BS. Like another poster above, I hope she has a wonderful birthday at a new job!

            1. Jen S. 2.0*

              And I hope she has brought the day off / gift card / cake tradition to said new job, and has gotten her chosen day off each year.

              Regarding February 28.25, February 28.5, February 28.75, and February 29, I was telling a friend (who was as indignant as the commentariat) about this letter, and she said LDB should get, like, a mini muffin with her initials on it off to the side of the regular cake the first year, a regular cupcake off to the side with her first name the next year, a baby-smash-sized cake off to the side the third year, and be on the regular cake in Leap Year :D

          2. pope suburban*

            Me too. I just can’t imagine not seeing how cruel this is outright, much less after a thorough explanation by an employment professional.

          3. JB (not in Houston)*

            Agreed with all of your comment. I think we could think of it in an even simpler, if not 100% scientific, way that is still more correct than the OP: the person was born on the 60th day of the year, a day that on some years we label as “February 29” and on some years we label as “March 1.” Every year has a 60th day, no matter what we choose to call it in our language. It’s completely ridiculous that the OP is doubling down on this.

          4. Stormfeather*

            I was also just thinking of the miss-your-own-graduation letter! Mostly in the context that both that letter and this are ones where I would REALLY like to get an update not even so much from the original LW (although I’ll take that certainly) but from the person being spoken about in the letter that happens across the site and gives an update.

            1. Candi*

              The idea isn’t that farfetched.

              Several months after the interns making a petition to change a business’ dress code letter, AAM got an update of sorts: One of the other interns involved who got bounced because of the leaders of the interns obtuseness about business norms. (Always consider whether it’s a good idea to go with the pack, kids.) The intern was asking for help on their resume: Should they include their stay at that internship? (AAM: No, in very kind language.)

              So it’s on the skinny parts of the statistical bell, but it could happen.

          5. Coffee Bean*

            I, too, am having a big challenge giving the OP the benefit of the doubt here. She cites that the employees love the birthday tradition, but then disparages the Leap Year employed for complaining about the policy. Everyone else gets to enjoy the birthday day off and gift card every year. Leap Year employee only gets to enjoy it every four years. Her complaint is justified. I hope the L Y employee wins the lottery. Then buys the company and changes the birthday policy.

        3. Face palm*

          Right?! Let’s say you just entirely don’t believe Feb. 29 exists. Then you believe the person was born on March 1, no?

    1. Goliath Corp.*

      “Morale here is so high! Just not her morale, which could be easily fixed if I stopped being such a petty a******.”

      1. WindyLindy*

        This letter felt so much like a Monty Python sketch about a dystopic bureaucracy. The company doesn’t think they hired a six- or seven- year old, right?

        1. Goliath Corp.*

          Good point! She should send them a child-labour suit if they keep insisting she only ages every four years.

          1. Quill*

            I think the line being drawn is “must take of Feb 29th, if it does not exist the benefit is revoked rather than being postponed to the next business day like anyone else’s birthday benefit would be,” not “is actually 6.”

            but both are equally batshit?

          1. Librarian of SHIELD*

            Fun story. In my state, driver’s licenses expire on your 65th birthday. My coworker with a leap day birthday turns 65 in a year without a leap day, so her license expires on 2/28 instead of 2/29. She nearly missed a flight once because the TSA agent who checked her license was certain it was fraudulent because it had the wrong expiration date. She had to go through multiple levels of supervisors until she got one who knows how calendars work.

            1. Lilo*

              My first license had “Under 21 until February 28 [year]”

              Bartenders still wouldn’t let me drink until March 1 though.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                I don’t know if those of you with leap day birthdays would be for it or against it, but it seems the government could save a lot of confusion by making 2/29 birthdays legal date of birth 3/1.

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Yeah, that one strikes me as a this bar has an owner who is very much a details matter owner – maybe possibly located in an area where there is a higher than normal percentage of fake ID’s?

                2. Third or Nothing!*

                  Probably located in one of the areas with super strict alcohol laws. TABC is legendary among Texas bars/breweries for their red tape and strict policy enforcement.

                3. Candi*

                  And I’ve yet to meet a government agency that assesses fines willing to pass up a sure payday.

                  Yes, I’m cynical.

              2. TooTiredToThink*

                I mentioned an article I read above – in it one guy actually wrote the state and received a letter back confirming he could drink on Feb 28 the year he turned 21 LOL.

            2. StillAtTheLake*

              I’m still chuckling at this story…so unbelievable that it needed to up the chain to someone “who knows how calendars work.” Love it!

      2. Iconic Bloomingdale*

        Exactly. Everyone else in the company has high morale because they annually receive a day off, cake and a gift card for their birthday!

      3. Candi*

        I doubt it’s high. Everyone just pretends it is because that’s how you deal with a manager who gets their brains from the floors of caves.

        My money is 1) everyone by now knows of the Leap Year stupid and 2) most if not all are hunting, especially Leap Year Kid.

        I have this story in my head where one of the higher performers leaves, starts their own business, then hires away all their old coworkers. It’s a nice fantasy, even if it’s not likely.

        1. Kate*

          “The market is niche and specialized”. That’s why “morale is high”, meaning nobody dares to complain because it is very difficult to find another job of the same kind.

    2. GigglyPuff*

      I literally had this pop in my head on the way into work this morning, and really wanted to email Alison and be like “hey remember that wild Leap Year birthday post”. Should’ve known she’d be on it.

      1. Half-Caf Latte*

        ha- I was planning on wishing the employee a happy birthday in the comments on the weekend free for all!

    3. JayNay*

      wow…. where I live, i feel like she could legally make them pay out her vacation days if it ever came to it. She’s effectively getting a day less vacation time than any of her coworkers. So if she’s there 5 years with only one leap year, she’s losing out 4 vacation days that EVERYONE else at the company gets.
      In my European country, people often get vacation days paid out when they leave jobs (e.g. you leave a job in March but haven’t taken any days off that year, then your company could be required to pay out part of your vacation days, proportionally to the year). So if that happened to me, I would 100 percent add those missed vacation days to my calculation and insist I’d get them.

      1. Face palm*

        Omg, wouldn’t it be awesome if they gave her 4 days off every 4 years, instead, though? I could totally get on board with that!

    4. EPLawyer*

      So was I. Per policy she gets Monday off which isnt her actual birthday either. But you know cant accomodate that every year.

    5. Miss Mouse*

      I’ve been thinking about this letter all week and hoping the employee long ago bolted to far-less-insane pastures.

    6. PaddyHaha*

      Hey OP, in case you read these comments – you are 100% wrong, you were never right, and there is no argument that you could make that would give you standing in saying that denying this benefit to your employee isn’t discriminatory and capricious. Doubling down to insist that your employee does not qualify for this benefit because they were born on Feb 29 -as if in non-leap years they haven’t grown a year older- is illogical.
      When your employees are 365 days older than the previous year, they get a day off. This includes the leap year employee. Stop being a dink.

      1. Candi*

        Because something is legal does not mean it is logical.

        There’s the story of the Indiana Pi Bill, where the state in question was going to make pi perfectly 3 through legislation.

        Even if someone hadn’t realized it was NUTS to even do that, pi would not have become 3 in science and math just because of law. It would still have been 3-14—–>.

        Just because the law says or doesn’t say X, doesn’t mean that that’s the end. It’s the beginning. After that, ethics and logic must be assessed.

        And there is nothing logical or ethical about Leap Year Lady being treated the way she is.

    7. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      We try to have our little boy not insult people with the “S word” (stupid) though I say it’s sometimes OK to use it to describe a situation.

      THIS is STUPID: “[A]n employee on my team who was born in a leap year on February 29. Since she only has a birthday every four years, she does not get a day off or a gift card and is not one of the people the cake acknowledges.”

    8. Phaedra*

      I was really hoping for a heartwarming update that would reaffirm my rapidly waning belief that humanity is basically good. Ah well.

    9. Iconic Bloomingdale*

      I was literally thinking of this letter the other day since leap year is around the corner. I am still shaking my head at the cluelessness of this manager and their lack of understanding how demoralizing and unfair this is to the employee. Especially since it is something that can be easily remedied.

      I hope the leap year birthday employee has since found another job.

    10. Susana*

      I hope she uses her day off – here one-fourth benefit every other employee gets – to find a new job and stop working for that entitled, clueless and petty LW.
      I know, the rule is to be kind. But LW is not only being gratuitously mean, but defending it because discriminated-against employee is still there. So there you go.

    11. Bookworm*

      I hope he has his “canadian” officially removed, because, I don’t want to have anything in common with this person at all.

    12. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This letter, and especially the update, still haunts me. I truly hope the employee is enjoying her day off and that she spends the next 4 years with an employer whose policies make sense.

    13. Nicole L.*

      Not only is this manager lacking in empathy, she doesn’t even know that laws of her own country! As an American, I was flabbergasted that Canada allowed religious persecution so I did a quick Google search on the Jehovah Witness comment and learned it was considered a cult during WWII but has been protected since the 60s under the Canadian Bill of Rights. In my not so humble opinion, the fact that this manager has such misguided opinions is a clear indication that she is lacking in other areas. I hope that our Leap Year Baby can take this up with her HR department. I think that people born on Feb 29th should have some protections as they often face undue discrimination. Before anyone attempts to claim I’m using “white privilege” you should know that I’m an African-American woman from Washington, DC. Unfair treatment is unfair treatment and I’m certain this isn’t the 1st time our Leap Day Baby has experienced this nor sadly will it be the last.

  1. Anne of Green Gables*

    I was thinking about her, too, and had been planning to say something on the open thread this Friday. Enjoy that day, Leap Day Person!! Although honestly, I hope she has found a new job that isn’t so bananacrackers…

    1. sofar*

      Same. And I hope she one day stumbles onto this site and realizes we’ve been rooting for her all along!

    1. Colette*

      Yup. This is an example of the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law, and of turning a perk into a drawback.

      1. Oranges*

        Yeah, this is insane and OF COURSE report brings it up. It’s not a small thing to be denied 8 hours PTO 3 out of 4 years because your actual birth-date is only on the calendar once every four years.

        1. whingedrinking*

          To me, the true pettiness absolutely shone through when the OP said the report didn’t even get her name on the monthly birthday cake – a smaller thing, but also therefore a stupider thing to refuse. What possible reason could one have for refusing to put a damn name on a cake?!

          1. TechWorker*

            Yea, and the justification of ‘they just quietly take the day off and get a gift card, so it’s not like she’s missing out’ ERM I think the benefit here is the gift card and free pto, not the fact your colleagues sing you happy birthday….

            1. Filosofickle*

              I had to read that part twice because it boggles the mind that the OP could be this obtuse. The perk is absolutely not attention, it’s the f-ing free money + time off.

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            I know right? The non-monetary benefit isn’t the cake, the benefit is feeling appreciated and part of the team. Which CLEARLY poor Leap Day Person does not.

            I feel for her. It’s so annoying when The Power That Be act like employees should be grateful for whatever nice things they do for them, even if some employees don’t actually get to enjoy said nice things.

          3. Candi*

            In the update comments, someone suggested it was to keep other employees from realizing, “Leap Year Lady’s name was on the cake, but she didn’t take a day off” and keep them from knowing about the whole debacle and denial. ‘Cause it’s so petty. /snark

            Anyone who knows their grapevines knows that EVERYONE in the rank and file workers knows. And anyone who knows how bad bosses work knows that this manager is probably very bad in other ways.

            After four years, I have to wonder of the “niche field” is still so niche, or if there’s more employers in that area now who need those workers.

        2. Emily S*

          But hey, the gift card and free day off are given out quietly without public fanfare, so she’s not missing out on anything*!

          * Except the gift card and free day off

      2. sacados*

        Yeah that steamed me in the update when OP’s like “I can assure you none of what we are doing is illegal” and I’m just like THAT’S COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT!!!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          s/ We give X benefit to everyone who works here except one person. And it’s because of NO wrong doing on her part that we with hold that benefit. We just do it because, you know… we control her paycheck.”/s

    2. chipMunkey*

      +1, another Canadian. For the record, that policy is absurd whether people are following it to the letter or not. There is a time, place, and way to go against policy and do it effectively, and this is definitely a case where in their shoes I would, whether I was the employee or the Manager. Even better, push for a change.

    3. fposte*

      On a side note, the OP is offensively wrong about the Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. They’re not banned in Canada; they were banned during World War II for some pretty questionable reasons in several countries, including Canada and Germany, so that’s some shared history.

      1. Detective Rosa Diaz*

        OP is Canadian but indicates they live outside of North America, so it’s very possible Jehovah’s Witnesses are banned where they are.

      2. Senor Montoya*

        OP’s employer is in Russia, China, Vietnam, Singapore, one of a number of Muslim majority countries, or another country that bans or restricts this religion. OP states they work outside north america.

          1. Lilian*

            I don’t think this kind of insanity would be tolerated in a Russian workplace – in my experience they’re pretty no BS and the whole office would be rallying behind the leap year employee. Which I’m surprised no one seems to be doing to be honest.

            1. Candi*

              I suspect the manager/management in general is that bad, that rocking the boat can be very, very dangerous. The Leap Year pettiness is like a tiny piece of trash from a huge mound clogging things upstream.

          2. o*

            Yeah, I worked for a little while in a country that was once part of the USSR — not Russia, but very influenced by Russian and Soviet cultures. Jehovah’s Witnesses are banned there, but moreover, this kind of petty “we said so” treatment of employees seems 100% in line with workplace culture where I worked. The crazy, baseless edicts that management would hand down, and which my colleagues would shrug over, had me feeling like I myself was going insane half the time.

        1. AR*

          Yeah…. OP is a jerk and the one being petty. On another note, I don’t understand why It’s stated that “she’s not loosing on anything”, if we do the math, the employee is loosing money and vacation days! Let’s say the employee has been with the company for 10 years, by then she would’ve lost 8 days of vacation and the amount of the gift card.

        2. Coverage Associate*

          Yes, having lived in Canada and the US, there’s a deeper cultural divide here than between those 2 countries. The emphasis on this policy being effected quietly but mandatorily is unlike anything I have heard of in North America, except for health issues.

        3. A New Level of Anon*

          As I commented in the last update thread, this happening with culturally Singaporean people and/or in Singapore would make a fair bit of sense from a cultural perspective. In that context, OP isn’t being a jerk so much so as they see someone not following or being comfortable with a “norm” that everyone else is to be a huge affront.

          Not saying it’s the right approach, but the issue of equity not always being the same as equality is challenging to deal with in some collectivist cultures.

          1. Candi*

            I suppose pointing out their business policy pushes Leap Year Lady outside the norm, and that acknowledging her birthday by using “the day after section” would actually bring her into the norm, would not be welcome?

      3. madge*

        OP is a Canadian living in a country where JWs are banned. While the Canadian WWII ban was questionable, other countries have banned them for having practices identical to that of cults (e.g., the extreme and harmful level of control over members).

        1. Timothy (TRiG)*

          Witnesses are a harmful religion, yes, but I don’t celebrate their ban. The only countries to have banned them are themselves totalitarian, and have not banned them for good reasons.

      4. Canadian, eh*

        Was just coming here to say that. It’s a recognized religion in Canada. One more reason this letter and update makes my head spin with the bonkersiness.

        1. Canadian, eh*

          Oops, missed that OP lives and works outside of Canada so it may well be banned where they are. I stand by the rest of the head spinning because of the bonkers.

    4. Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      This manager is a classic case of I’m Going To Be Right No Matter What, So There. Stay gold, manager.

  2. CatCat*

    I feel so bad for her and how rigidly unkind her manager is. This would be funny in a wacky sitcom about a bumbling manager, but in real life, it’s just awful.

      1. Mommy.MD*

        Even Dwight would think this is insane. It’s not about policy. It’s about being controlling and OP got a bee in her bonnet because Birthday Employee asked about it. It’s about spite.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            *Dratted. (But dated would also work if we make him someone who ignores company policy about dating co-workers.)

    1. Doralee Rhodes*

      Yes! This is like something out of the office. I can see Michael Scott doing something like this believing it makes perfect sense!

        1. LilPinkSock*

          Toby got a birthday party! At 4:55 on Friday in the parking lot…which is still more generous than OP.

    2. I was never given a name*

      I could totally imagine Veronica from Better Off Ted saying this and being utterly confused why anyone would object/being low-key excited about saving The Company money.

      1. Charlotte Collins*

        And if you hire people on Leap Day, they have fewer work anniversaries, so you don’t have to celebrate those either. And no one can ever retire…

    3. Red*

      This is so tiny but so unfair. She gets 25% of the gift cards and extra PTO her colleagues get – hell, I’d complain about it monthly. And I’m bummed that it sounds like her colleagues aren’t chiming in to note that she deserves to be fairly compensated. I hope she’s gone by now!

    4. kittymommy*

      Seriously. I remember the original letter but don’t remember the update (not that that means anything) but wow! The company and the manager are so unbelievably in the wrong here no wonder they can’t see since they passed that line about 3 miles back.

  3. TechnicallyTheWorst*

    This chick is straight out of Pirates of Penzance. A great operetta… but not meant to be a guide of how to operate in the real world!

    1. OwlEditor*

      Ha ha ha! Now I keep thinking… She’s only five and a little bit over! ;)
      One of my favorite musicals. The movie is divine.

      1. darsynia*

        My ACTUAL birthday is on March 1, and I always wished I’d been born a full year later, in 1980, when I would have been born on February 29! It just seemed so cool. I always said I’d convince my friends that I was really born on the 29th, and I have a few of them going!

    2. Goliath Corp.*

      Side note: it was only a few years ago that I learned that Penzance is a real place, and not just a piratey Neverland.

      1. Working for yarn*

        And I just learned it today … honestly thought it was a made-up name. Didn’t know it was as an actual town. Excuse me while I go down a wikipedia dark hole …

        1. Goliath Corp.*

          Apparently it has the most moderate temperature and most sunny days in the whole UK! They even have palm trees.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        There is an outdoor theatre built into the cliffs at the real Penzance. As well as a regular programme of events, they will occasionally host performances of Pirates. Because of course they do.

      3. Erin*

        It was included in my trip to Cornwall last year, because it’s a transportation hub. We wanted to see St. Michael’s Mount and walked the whole Mount’s Bay area: Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole…

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I knew that, but only because I did the show in high school with the community theater company where I eventually went to music college.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      I’m actually playing Ruth in a production of The Pirates of Penzance right now and throughout the rehearsal process I couldn’t stop thinking about this letter!

    4. Susan*

      Am I the only one who remembers ‘The Pirate Movie’, starring Kristi McNichols, back in the 80s? It’s based on Pirates of Penzance and is a wonderfully cheesy movie. “Mabel – your goosebumps have grown!” I have no idea why it was on heavy rotation for me as a kid, because it definitely was not age appropriate.

      1. Swordspoint*

        Not the only one! My best friend and I used to watch it regularly when we were in high school. Sooooo cheesy. But fun!

  4. Arctic*

    I’ve genuinely been thinking about this all week long!

    On the one hand, I hope she has an amazing three day weekend. On the other, I hope she no longer works there and this is no longer even a thing. (But take the day off anyway!)

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Dude, if it were me I would have found a new job by now and be taking my birthday off every single year as a matter of principle.

      1. Emily S*

        But she must be fine with it, because she didn’t quit right away*.

        * Her role is very specialized and niche so there likely aren’t many other options for her in her field, but the fact that she hasn’t quit is still evidence that she’s specifically OK with the discriminatory birthday policy that she keeps asking them to change

        1. Claire*

          I mean, when the letter was written, she had only missed one birthday–she got to take off in 2016, and then there was 2017. Maybe she assumed that this was such a ridiculous situation that of course management would fix it once it was brought to their attention?

          And of course, this isn’t a huge deal, so if the job is (somehow) great otherwise, I could see not being willing to quite over it…that said, I imagine that OP and her manager are nitpicky sticklers for rules in other circumstances as well if they aren’t so much as willing to put this woman’s name on a birthday cake they’re buying anyway.

          1. Emily S*

            I probably should have added a /s at the end of my post to make it clear that I agree with you – I think the LW offering up “she is not job searching” as evidence that the policy must be fine with her, while ignoring the actual evidence – that she had asked them in both 2017 and 2018 to fix the policy to include her – demonstrating that she obviously did not think the policy was fine.

              1. Candi*

                Would you tell this manager you were job hunting? I doubt anyone in that office would -and I suspect more of them are job hunting than she thinks. This kind of nutty thinking is rarely compartmentalized.

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              This is like when my company reclassified my position (it affected one other person), which came with a massive pay cut and reduction in benefits. We were able to negotiate no pay cut. (Threatening to walk out when you’re the only two people who can do a job with federal contractual obligations has a strange way of loosening purse strings.) However, they stuck to their guns on other things, which got me started on a pretty intense yearlong job hunt. At one point (shortly before I took a new position), the director who was responsible for the change asked if I was happy now because my pay hadn’t been cut. I was pretty clear with her that I was job hunting. (I had already told them that I was looking for a new job, and I had no fear at this point.) It was like, “Well, you’re still here, so you must be OK with everything, right?”

  5. Jennifer in GA*

    This still boggles the mind, even after all this time. I know the LW said people whose birthday fall on the weekend get the next working day off, but with Feb 29th being on a Saturday this year, I wouldn’t put it past ten to try and take it away from her somehow!!

    1. SunriseRuby*

      Nah, I wouldn’t worry about that. The OP and their Big Boss will stick tenaciously to the letter of the law, and they’ll give the employee what she’s due according to their rules, just as they have with all the other employees during the years when their birthdays fall on weekends. They’ll do it so they can point to 2016 and 2020 and tell her when she complains “We’ve observed your birthday just like everyone else’s. What are you complaining about?”

      1. SunriseRuby*

        But just to be clear, the OP and their own manager are absolutely, utterly in the wrong here. Their obtuseness is off the charts.

        1. Tata*

          I’m puzzled as to why OP even provided an update. And ignored the Alison’s advice & comments. I have my doubts about the “high” moral of the employees. If employees see questionable and/or inflexible treatment of one then it will happen again. Inflexibility in this situation, leads to more similar behavior towards employees which will drastically affect employee moral. I’m glad I don’t work for someone this crazy.

  6. Princess Deviant*

    Ah, yes the ‘doubling down’ update because of course the reason why we agree with the employee is because we don’t understand the manager.
    It’s madness.

    1. Buzz, your girlfriend, woof*

      That manager needs to shame-walk outta here with this double-down update. This made it even worse honestly.

    2. BRR*

      This sort of reminds me of my thoughts for the business owner recently who wanted to share their point about salary during the hiring process. We 100% understand you; we just 100% don’t agree with you.

      Anyways I hope the employee takes their birthday day off to interview at a better employer.

    3. Kali*

      The update is the part that drives me most nuts. The manager just restates everything, as if Alison (and the collective readers of this site) are the ones not being logical. It actually infuriates me how condescending they are when they’re being so obtuse. That and the fact that any birthday falling on a weekend or holiday gets the next working day off instead, as if they can’t just pretend February 29th is a holiday or whatever.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yup, makes it look like they are willing to accommodate a person born on say, New Years Day – but their brain can’t work out how to do that for a person born on Leap Day.

  7. Miss May*

    It takes SO LITTLE to be decent to this employee. She is literally asking to be treated the same as everyone else. Flies and honey, man.

    1. Ninotchka The Intrepid*

      Maybe the employee is just biding her time, building up experience until she’s ready to leave. But each and every year she’s cheated out of her birthday it’s a mark against that employer and when she’s got the experience she needs to move on, she will. OP isn’t cultivating a loyal employee, just a crop of bad feelings.

      1. Jim*

        PLOT TWIST: Employee applies to new job, says she has 5 years of experience. Potential new job contacts HR at old job, which says she only has 2 years of experience, based on the number of birthdays they recorded.

  8. Ellis Hubris*

    Per this logic, this manager has a 5-7 year old working on staff? Is that legal? :p.
    This is insanity.

    1. Spero*

      YES!!!! So I assume they’re calculating her child labor law allowed hours based on this age, as well as the cost of her health insurance/life insurance/any other benefits with an age-based component to them? I imagine not. So either do it across the board or not at all!

    2. Random IT person*

      You know , that is something i thought about too.

      Apparently – this companies management believes you only get older on your birthday – so they are in violation of child labor laws. Call the cops. Call CPS. Call the newspapers.

      (and, to be honest, i think my response above is quite sane and measured – compared to this companies insane policies)

  9. AJ*

    Yup, was just thinking about this insanity too! Hope she enjoys her birthday somewhere new not staffed by crazy people.

  10. OwlEditor*

    For a second I was so excited that OP was writing in that for some strange reason the employee had left. Which I really, really hope is what happened.

  11. prufrock*

    Well I guess this isn’t as bad as the LW who wrote in asking how to tell off their (ex-)employee who had quit because she had not been allowed to go to her own graduation…

      1. Dragoning*

        I don’t think that OP commented ever, or sent an update, but man they already wanted to send them a message saying they’d behaved unprofessionally, so they were double-downing IRL.

      2. anony*

        Yes… and in a very similar tone/writing style which is why at the time, many people in the comments and elsewhere on the internet speculated that both letters were creative writing samples written from the perspective of the antagonist.

    1. MistOrMister*

      That is one letter that has always stood out to me. Couldn’t have the day off unless someone would switch voluntatily but yet the manager was willing to step in to change someone else’s schedule because they had concert tickets. The level of horrible there just astouds me.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Not even the day off, but Graduating Employee just asked to come in TWO HOURS LATE. Gahhhhhh, it makes me so mad just thinking about it.

  12. HotSauce*

    I was just thinking about this letter the other day & I still felt mad for this poor woman. This manager is a pedantic jerk. I have no idea why this company would choose to be so petty about this and then when Allison tells OP they’re being ridiculous they dig in & re-explain their policy, as though she has some problem with reading comprehension. No bud, she has a problem with a manager treating their employees unfairly. I don’t think it would be silly at all for that employee to leave, I would! I’d never want to work for a company that singled people out based on the day they were born.

    1. Steve*

      > I’d never want to work for a company that singled people out based on the day they were born.

      If I were a coworker, I would threaten to quit unless they fixed this unfairness.

      1. Sparrow*

        Yeah, my morale would absolutely *not* be high if I knew my superiors were treating a coworker like this (or that they were exhibiting this incredibly poor logic and critical thinking, tbh!) I’d definitely be looking for a new job.

    2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I got especially heated when the manager tried to claim she “wasn’t missing out” because there wasn’t a public announcement about each birthday. A day of vacation – not to mention, a freaking gift card – is a tangible benefit with an actual monetary value! The employee is literally being paid less than her coworkers every year because of the day she was born. My mind is just blown that the company/manager doesn’t realize that.

      1. SierraSkiing*

        No kidding! I don’t need a parade through the office to be excited about getting cake, a gift card, and a day off – or to be angry if other people are getting the cake and my cake is a lie.

    3. Sharbe*

      Right? It’s like they’re trying to penalize her because they themselves resent the birthday celebration thing overall. In which case they should stop doing it entirely instead of passive agressively taking out their frustrations about it on her.

      1. DireRaven*

        Or, LW just don’t like LYB person in general in a BEC way. I could see that if the LW liked LYB person, they would go to bat about the birthday celebration.

  13. WizardofLoneliness*

    LOL I love how the letter writer just doubled down on the craziness in her update. I’m floored. Please note, us Canucks are usually NOT this COLD!

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Seriously. We actually have a reputation for being nice, and she’s ruining it for all of us!

      Add me to the chorus of people hoping the Leap Day Person is long out of that job, and if there’s any way she could set of a stink bomb or something in her old office on Saturday, that would be an appropriate way to celebrate.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Thank you for making me choke on my diet root beer. Monday morning, LW and Jerk Boss are coughing with eye watering from the awful smell, all, “What on earth happened! Morale is so high here!”

  14. annakarina1*

    “Morale is high at the firm. Turnover among employees is low. Many people want to work here.”

    In other words, “shut up and stop complaining.”

      1. Long-time reader*

        Yep. Except for all the decent people who work there who might hear about it. If I was a co-worker of theirs and I heard how this was handled, I’d be burned.

        And just like employers who mishandle firings, I’d be adding this as a data point about how management operates.

        I think OP is a bit deluded about the high morale, assuming other staff know about this.

        1. Mike*

          Agreed. I once worked at a place where management fired a coworker, not me, but left the DOOR OPEN. I heard everything down the hall!

          I was angry and frustrated and the whole thing had nothing to do with me.

    1. Never*

      “you are utterly disposable. Don’t make me notice you.”.

      Its so nice to be told that you should be happy to be treated like you are sub human compared to the rest of the staff, and almost should feel lucky you have a job….

      I hope the employee finds a way to sue frankly.

    2. Leela*

      I have no reason to doubt that statement but I will say that management can be very out of touch. “No one said anything to me!” often means “people are happy” even if it really means “people respect you so little, and think so little of how you handle issues, that they just aren’t bringing them to you”.

      But I suspect that even if it’s true it’s because of the benefits those employees are enjoying and if they lost them but saw everyone else keep them, they’d be upset too

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        It’s just like when complaining about an open plan “But no one else has complained.” Yes, they have, and you told them the same thing, or they haven’t complained *to you* because they know you’ll gaslight them.

        It’s a very bad kind of blind spot: “Oh, I treat my slaves well, they would never want to leave. The ones who tried to escape are just malcontents, never happy with anything, they just don’t know how good they have it.”

        1. Candi*

          And if approached by a group, they really blow a fuse about them all being “whiners” and “disrespectful”.

          Interesting historical tidbit about that “treating slaves well”: Plantations that REALLY treated their slaves well – very few and far between- had much higher yields than plantations that didn’t. Funny how that happens.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Yeah, funny that. Healthy people with adequate nutrition and rest are more productive, who knew?

            1. Candi*

              And it’s really weird how being treated with a modicum of respect can make people work that much harder. Strange.


    3. Jennifer Thneed*

      So, on Monday, when Leap Day Person isn’t at work, will anyone notice? Will they ask her the next day where she was? Will she tell them “I had the Birthday Day Off, finally. I didn’t get it the last 2 years because of my actual birth date”? Will morale start to slip a little? And how many people know about this unequal treatment, anyway?

    4. Arts Akimbo*

      “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Morale is high. Turnover is low. Many people want to work here.” And other dystopian slogans.

    5. Merpaderp*

      I agree, it amounts to “sit down and shut up.” I also had a visceral reaction to reading that phrase too; it feels like the same sort of reasoning deployed against many marginalized folks. A la: “all the clients like our uniform policy, no other staff have complained about it, and it’s not like it’s that big a deal to straighten your hair before coming to the to work anyway”, or “I know, you need the lights on to see the interpreter, but my PowerPoint with red text on a blue background is hard to read unless the lights are off, so just suck it up”, like… Just because everybody isn’t complaining doesn’t mean it’s not a problem and it certainly doesn’t make it right.

      The point about “its not illegal” is weak-sauce too. It’s not illegal because its just that ridiculous. Bill 7392017, “The redistribution of leap year birthdays to dates existing in the current calandar year” is not going to become a law… because that particular issue is already settled in the entirety of the known world… Except for these 2 or more people in this one office and maybe kids under 3.

      In the spirit of being helpful for the original poster I’ll wrap up by saying this; you can have whatever non-illegal policies you want. You can call the sky green. But it’s not unprofessional or petty for a person to note, and be opposed to, your bizzare and idiosyncratic definition of birthday.

      1. Candi*

        There’s a policy in business that “for everyone who complains, ten quietly go somewhere else.”

        Sidenote: this only applies to REASONABLE customers. Unreasonable jerks do not count.

        Especially with management like this, I doubt there are many complaints. But lots of very quiet job hunting.

    6. Gaming Teapot*

      Morale is high at the firm. Turnover among employees is low. Many people want to work here. There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

      There. Fixed that for OP ;)

  15. Formerly Known As*

    This manager is unnecessarily rigid. What a killjoy to deny someone birthday privileges 3 years out of 4 simply because they were born on February 29. I find it bizarre that the manager and company are so focused on this.

    1. Chaotic Neutral*

      That’s what bothered me the most- they said she wasn’t losing anything but she’s getting 3 fewer paid days off and 3 fewer gift cards than everyone else so that is a loss

      1. StellaBella*

        Yes! OP is enforcing a policy that bullies an employee and treats them differently. I hope employee has left.

  16. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Sometimes, people just suck. Hopefully one day this particular individual will figure out that they are in that category and correct it. Until then, they can enjoy building up the karma.

    1. Sinister Serina*

      They had to find a way to make it okay and not like they were discriminating or being unfair. We are just following the policy exactly as written and not the spirit in which it was intended. What’s wrong with that? /s

  17. Kat*

    I think about this person from time to time! It seem so simple to just handle it just like birthdays that fall on a weekend – just give her March 1. Very strange that the employer is so opposed.
    My husband started his current job on the last Feb 29 so he is looking forward to celebrating 4 years there and his first work anniversary this weekend!

    1. Nonny Maus*

      See, the ‘only’ reason I could see there being a hiccup would be if the benny of day-off was done via computer. It does not excuse the lack of gift-card-or-name-on cake, but it would at least explain why a computer-error might be a 3/4 year things. EVEN THEN HOWEVER–There should be a WORK-AROUND.

      This poor Employee.

      1. Candi*

        There is a work-around, and you can tell the computer in computer language to do it.

        I’m back in college as a nontraditional computer science student, and we’ve been learning programming these past two quarters. There is an annoying but useful programming blurb that can check if a year is a leap year, and return results accordingly. I learned it in Java, but the principle should be translatable to most languages, since it’s essentially a math equation in programming language.

        Check if the year is divisible by 4 AND is not a ’00 year, UNLESS it’s an ’00 year divisible by X. It’s a PITA to program, especially since you don’t want to hard code anything to avoid future glitches, but it works.

        It can be its own method, called by a larger date checking/returning method, or built into a larger date method.

        Again, essentially first-year programming student, although second-year overall student. (I had a LOT of math to do.)

    2. Kathenus*

      With such a rigid way of thinking, if they wanted to be consistent (consistent jerks, that is), then if someone’s actual birthday fell on a weekend or holiday they also should not get the extra day off that year because their birthday doesn’t fall on a workday.

      Anyway, Happy Birthday Leap Year worker! And stay gold :)

  18. MM55*

    Substitute ‘day off on your birthday’ with ‘raises are given on your birthday’ and you can see the absurdity of this. Dilbert thrives!

    1. Anonnnnn*

      Exactly; it may not be illegal, but it’s still discrimination.
      Also, why use the policy as an excuse to treat this woman so poorly? Policies are not written in stone; they can be amended. Companies update crappy and antiquated policies all the time!

      1. Candi*

        We’ve also seen stories of managers who disagreed with a policy, couldn’t amend it or get it amended, and worked to limit its impact on their workers. It’s not a difficult concept, even if it was sometimes a pain in practice.

  19. Indigo a la mode*

    I’ve been thinking about her all week! These letters were just…wow……I mean, how. hard. would it be. to be nice about this. I’m just gobsmacked every time I think about this manager.

    Happy birthday, Leap Day lady!

  20. Lilo*

    Leaping here:

    I really don’t care that much about my birthday, but this whole attitude smacks of stuff kids used to day to tease me when I was a child on the playground (well you don’t have a birthday! Or “you’re really two and too young to play”).

    If Starbucks and a thousand other companies with birthday perks can figure out how to accommodate my birthday, so can this poor lady’s employer.

    1. Merpaderp*

      Yeah, like, how does a person, (much less 2!), get to this place as a logical position??? A fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of time? Birthdays? Do they not understand the principles of why discrimination is illegal? I’m definitely not confident in OP’s understanding of “mandatory” since it’s clearly not mandatory for at least one employee.

      Just… What? Why?

    2. Observer*

      When your behavior sounds like nothing more than schoolyard taunting, it’s time to rethink your behavior, even if it’s “legal to the books”

    3. EddieSherbert*

      Seriously! It shouldn’t be that hard. Their logic is mind-boggling.

      Happy upcoming birthday btw (this and every year!!!)!

    4. cleo*

      Yeah, I keep wondering if there’s a work-around even if they can’t change the system. How hard is it to enter the employee’s b-day as Feb 28 in whatever official system they use? I’d be so tempted to announce that I talked with my mother and it turns out that I was born at midnight so my birthday is *actually* the 28th or 1st.

  21. GrumpyGnome*

    This is still a horrible way to treat an employee. Yes, she’s known about the policy, but that doesn’t mean she accepts that it’s fair. In fact, she’s told OP that it unfair and OP has refused to see that it is horribly unkind at minimum to deny an employee a perk that everyone else receives. If this is such a niche job, she may be stuck at it, which is the only reason she is still there. I truly hope she finds a company soon that is actually equitable. I’d seriously question what else is not done evenly in this company if something minor is handled so badly.

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      I know right!!!! “We are a niche market in a remote location with no other employers within 500 miles but she isn’t looking because this is a great place to work!”

      1. Candi*

        Also, how niche is it still after 3-4 years? If there’s a demand for a certain kind of niche work in that area, supply and demand means that sooner or later, there’s going to be someone else looking to make money.

  22. HR- Occam's Razor*

    Amazing when a benefit offered by a company (with generous intention) morphs into finding reason to not provide it.

    The harm far outweighs whatever good came from it.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Right? And how much money are they even saving? One paid day off (for an entry level employee, or nearly so), plus a…$50? gift card? Come on, people. It’s hardly going to break the bank.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        Exactly! That $200ish in PTO + gift card it totally what is going to push that $500,000k budget for all of the other employees over the edge.

  23. Erika*

    As a Leap Year baby, this makes me absolutely INSANE. It wasn’t enough that all through elementary school people ask you “So, how old are you REALLY?,” but then you get into the working world and your employer gives everyone a benefit that doesn’t apply to you?

    Give the woman the 28th off. Does it really cost you anything?

    1. Lilo*

      Hello fellow leapling!

      It does feel so elementary school, doesn’t it? I haven’t had anyone treat it other than trivia since then. I just can’t imagine an actual adult pulling something like this.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Honestly I think that attitude is too juvenile even for elementary school, but that’s just me.

        (Not a leap day baby, but just about everywhere else can accommodate people born on this date…)

        1. Erika*

          In elementary school, people still recognized that we had a birthday. They were just really dopey about it. “So, are you really 3?” Um, no, I’m 12. I’ve had 3 birthdays.

          (I would be interested in a survey of Leap Year babies to see how pedantic we all grew up to be.)

          1. Lilo*

            Fellow Leaplings are the only people I’ve met who know the Leap day rules down to the minor details (like there was a leap day on 2000 but there will not be one in 2100).

                1. Kwazy Kupcake*

                  Me too.

                  I intellectually understand the “why” of it but I still feel like I need to go lie down.

            1. Guacamole Bob*

              Or people who have to program calendar apps. We had to write a piece of code to print a calendar as a task in my into programming class way back in high school, and we had to account for all the rules around Leap Day.

              1. Candi*

                Figuring out how to accommodate Leap Year in a program handling dates was a lesson of my programming classes for the last couple quarters. I learned in Java, but since it’s math written in programming language, it’s translatable to most languages.

                Computers are exactly as stupid as we tell them to be. But humans are usually as stupid as they WANT to be.

          2. cheddaronrye*

            Another leapling here (also very pedantic)! Do you all also notice as you age that no one knows how to do math? I’m turning 40 this year when it’s been mentioned that I was born on the 29th, I’ve gotten, “So…you’ll be….7?” and also, “So…you’ll be 15?” I’m like…….ten. I will be ten. 40 divided by 4 is 10. It’s not annoying, I actually find it hilarious, but it’s just funny how often it happens.

              1. Third or Nothing!*

                And 40 is especially easy since it’s also one of the tens. At least the way my brain works.

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                But sadly there are schools out there that no longer require students to learn their times tables. The logic (from the teacher not requiring this skill) was that calculators are everywhere now, even on smartphones so why should we waste time teaching this skill.

                My reply always is “what are you going to do when you need that skill and the battery in your calculator dies mid test?” I have never gotten a cogent answer (even from adults) in reply.

                (This was oldest child’s former school – emphasis on FORMER.)

                1. Candi*

                  Multiplication up to the fives at least is fairly easy for most kids, too. Most of them quickly understand the concept of columns and rows of stuff, and adding each row/column gets the same answer as multiplying one row and column. (Assuming all are even.) From there, it only takes a little longer to abstractly apply it to other groups of things.

                  Showing them with coins works especially well.

                2. Diya*

                  Because it builds logic that helps you as you move on to more complicated math? Yikes, y’all. I get that memorization is not a great form of pedagogy, but that doesn’t mean you replace it with ‘let the calculator do it.’ Use an abacus! Something!

                  (And on another note – my ass was in school in the 90s, and as I recall, we had calculators then too. What even.)

      2. Antilles*

        I have a friend who’s a leapling and we’ll make a minor joke or two about it in late February (“hey, happy 8th birthday, should we get you a bicycle this year?”) in a friendly way…but anything more than that is straight up absurd.

    2. bookartist*

      Yes, It would cost the LW their sense of control and ability to do whatever they like to those who report to them. Can;t have that!

  24. profe*

    Man, I loosely remembered the original letter and have seen it referenced often, but I didn’t recall all the details or the update. I can’t believe the manager doubled down on this. Absolutely bananas.
    On a more minor note, while I’m sure this is a nice perk that everyone appreciates, mandatory day off comes of kind of weirdly too. I wish we could hear from the employee, I bet that place is hella weird in other ways!

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I think it’s so weird how the manager doubled down with “it’s mandatory that you take your actual birthday and ONLY your actual birthday off…unless of course your birthday is a weekend and then you can take the following Monday”. Like, just let the poor employee take the 28th!

      1. Duck Duck Goose*

        This is the most infuriating part! Like you clearly don’t HAVE to take your ACTUAL birthday off if they recognize that weekends exist!

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      Yeah, the fact that you have to take your birthday off is kind of weird to me. I mean, more time off is nice, but I don’t really make a big deal of my birthday and I’d probably spend the day catching up on housework and errands. And sometimes the timing might not be great for a random day off and it means you miss important meetings or something. I know people who hate recognition of their birthdays, too, and this policy would probably aggravate them.

      I’d be much happier to get an extra day I could take sometime that month or something. Maybe toss in a stipulation that managers can’t deny requests off for someone’s birthday if a lot of people like this practice.

  25. Jessen*

    Anyone else find this especially ironic given that employees still get a day off even if they don’t have a birthday during the work week?

    1. Kellogg*

      Right??? Apparently, you can accommodate employees who aren’t able to take advantage of the day off because it falls on a weekend, but you can’t accommodate the employee who has a birthday on Leap Day? If the OP didn’t keep saying what a high performer her employee was, I’d assume she was singled out because she was the office pariah and everyone thought it was funny to deny her benefits.

      Which wouldn’t be a great place to work regardless, but would somehow make more sense to me.

    2. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

      Yes, that’s what bothers me. If the policy was you got it only if your birthday fell on a work day, and if it fell on a weekend or holiday, you were out of luck I could kinda see it (it would be a crappy thing to do but at least it would be kind of consistent). But this attitude just blows my mind.

    3. button*

      THIS is what kills me!! Because it’s not even that you must take your exact birthday, which would still be a bad policy but at least the logic would be internally consistent. Everyone ELSE can take a birthday-adjacent day except this one person. Why????????

      1. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

        Button I love the way you put it that others can take a “birthday adjacent” day!

    4. EddieSherbert*

      Makes me wonder what they do for Christmas birthdays (if it’s an office setting where everyone gets Christmas off)…

    5. Jen S. 2.0*

      That to me is the weirdest part! How do they not realize how insane it is to draw this particular line and STILL leave her out?

      I noted the first time around that if you have a birthday on a holiday (I’m 11/11, which is a government / bank holiday in the US), you end up getting two days off in a row, and they’re fine with that. And yet this lady still gets nothing!

  26. Factchecking*

    Also a Canadian here. This is all ridiculous. ALSO – Jehovah’s Witnesses are *not* banned in Canada.

    1. HotSauce*

      Yes! I thought that comment was so weird! My husband used to be a JW and he talked about going to conferences in Canada with his ex-wife. I thought it was such an odd thing to lie about.

      1. Martine*

        The OP doesn’t live and work in Canada. So I’m confused as to why you say they are lying? Unfortunately there are countries where Jehovahs Witnesses are banned, so the OP is most certainly telling the truth (even if they are an awful manager/person)

  27. Morticia*

    This reminds me of a recent AITA on reddit, where the guy is telling people that he has been with his girlfriend for 1 year, whereas she says 6, because she doesn’t start counting the time together from after they broke up for 90 minutes a year ago.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      And I also imagine that the employee didn’t start complaining until the second year, when nothing was done for her because there was no February 29th that year.

      It all originally struck me as the lost incredibly petty thing to do to an otherwise excellent employee from both OP and the boss. Hoping the affected employee has since moved on to somewhere that values her and allows her ALL the same perks as other employees.

    2. Antilles*

      Yeah, I saw that one too and it’s absolutely insane. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the more detailed version of the story is this:
      Guy and girl started dating in high school and throughout college. They ‘broke up’ for literally an hour a year ago because one of them was going to grad school in a different city (or something), so in the midst of an argument about how it would work, they ‘broke up’ for literally an hour and a half (not an exaggeration) before deciding to work through it and stay together.
      Recently he read a single Philosophy book and he’s now claiming that since the time was technically non-consecutive, they cannot say they’ve been dating for six years because the clock restarted when they ‘broke up’. She thinks he’s insane and is getting angry at his pedantry.
      When I saw the post, there hadn’t yet been an update where he goes “so I refused to change and she flipped me off and told me that from now on, she can say we’ve been dating for 0 years because we’re no longer together”…but he seemed to be digging in his heels pretty hard, so that’s probably where it’ll end up.

      1. Clorinda*

        Well, that’s six years (minus 90 minutes) that she won’t get back, but on the bright side, she will now recognize a pedantic a–hole when she sees one and she won’t date the next one.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Well it looks like he can be right or he can have a GF but he can only have one of these. Eh, maybe his Righteousness will buy a nice present for him at Christmas.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      We need additional data to reach a valid conclusion. That 90-minute breakup only counts if he got laid during it.

  28. Why isn't it Friday?*

    Unreal, OP. You deserve to lose this employee, who by your own standards is excellent. What a bizarre hill to die on.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Try two.

      And I also imagine that the employee didn’t start complaining until the second year, when nothing was done for her because there was no February 29th that year.

      It all originally struck me as the lost incredibly petty thing to do to an otherwise excellent employee from both OP and the boss. Hoping the affected employee has since moved on to somewhere that values her and allows her ALL the same perks as other employees.

  29. Artemesia*

    While it is a small thing, the people who have this policy are nevertheless moral monsters. It is hard to imagine people could run a successful business who have so little ability to reason.

  30. Bertha*

    The update and response hurts my head. And my heart. “People love the policy and no one complains about the mandatory day off or the gift card.” Guh… of course they don’t.

    If I were the employee, I’d bring it up to my coworkers. My boss recently instituted a birthday-off policy, and I’d be SO UPSET if I found out one of my coworkers couldn’t take advantage of this benefit because *THEY WERE BORN ON LEAP DAY.* I would totally push back on behalf of the coworker who didn’t receive the benefit. I bet no one else even realizes she doesn’t get a day off!

    Also, the company should look into the legality of hiring someone who is apparently only 5 or 6 years old…

      1. Zennish*

        I’m guessing it’s more because no one wants to draw attention in an environment this dysfunctional, so they just answer everything with “I’m doing great! Must run now! Bye!”

    1. Steve*

      Even the way they word it for the non-leap-birthday-employees is unnecessarily rigid. “They have to take the day off, it is not optional.” I had an employer who gave us our birthday off but they worded the policy more like “you can’t shift this to another day” just to make clear that it was a birthday perk and not just an extra vacation day to use whenever you want.

      This seems to me like one of those cases Alison talks about where this can’t be the only dysfunctional aspect of the workplace.

    2. Never*

      Yes, no one is going to hate the policy, and very few will realise that the employee is, in contrast to everyone else, being treated as lesser.

      The LW is totally missing the point.

    3. Librarian of SHIELD*

      In the information field where we ask and answer questions all day long, I can imagine a manager announcing this policy and immediately being asked about leap day birthdays, even if they didn’t have any leaplings on staff.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I was taught years ago that statements containing the words, “always”, “never”, “everyone” and “nobody” are usually NOT true statements. I was told to watch out for statements containing these words as it can cause a lot of problems.

  31. Red5*

    I can’t believe I’ve never seen this letter or the update before. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so petty. I hope the LW has taken a moment to rethink what she is doing and reorient her heart. This is insane.

  32. Murphy*

    HAHA, I remember this letter, but somehow I forgot that it wasn’t the Leap Year employee that wrote in, but another employee who somehow did not think this policy was insane.

  33. tinyhipsterboy*

    Hold on. So if the birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, the birthday human takes the next work day off… but if Leap Day doesn’t happen, you don’t have that employee take the next available work day off? It’s nearly the same situation: the birthday doesn’t fall on a work day.

    It’s not about legality or if the policy works for everyone else. Frankly, this is ridiculous. You’re digging your heels in for something you give leeway to every other employee for pretty much no reason. It’s not like this employee ages every four years; the day itself still exists, it just gets shifted on the calendar. This is rude, OP.

    I hope the report has a great birthday!

    1. MonteCristo85*

      The only thing I can fathom is that the system generates the day off, and the manager doesn’t know how to change it. I mean just change the info in the system to make her birthday be the 28th, right?

      There is NO WAY this manager is only being ludicrous about this one thing.

  34. Dust Bunny*

    it doesn’t have to be illegal or even unethical for it to be unfair and really bizarrely rigid, LW. I don’t know why you’re so doubled-down on this except that maybe you just don’t want to be wrong. But the policy still stinks.

    1. Morning reader*

      So many questions about how this birthday policy works.

      There is a cake each month for everyone with a birthday that month, yet the individuals are not named or otherwise acknowledged. So how does anyone know whose birthday it is? “there’s a cake in the break room celebrating those of you with February birthdays. you know who you are.” Wouldn’t the leaper be among the unknown februaries already?

      What would happen if she took March 1 off every year, went to a restaurant and filed for reimbursement. Wouldn’t that fit the letter and spirit of the policy? “Your birthday or the first working day after.” Leaper’s birthday is “the end of February” in any year the 29th doesn’t happen.

      Of course Leaper wouldn’t quit a job over just this. It’s one red flag and a small loss of benefits for an arbitrary reason. If combined with other flags, Leaper will probably not be there by next year if she is due to get slighted again.

      1. The Tin Man*

        Hah, maybe that would have been bureaucratic enough to work – “My birthday is not on a working day and March 1 is the first working day after my birthday, so that is my day off!”

        Except that would require the letter write to admit that maybe they are a jerk for no reason at all.

      2. Bertha*

        I assumed the names were put on the cake as the LW says that the Leap Year birthday person is ” not one of the people the cake acknowledges” .. also, what a weird way to put it, being “acknowledged” by a cake, as if it happens by magic…

        1. an infinite number of monkeys*

          I imagine spelled out in icing, “Happy Birthday Debra, Bob, Sally, Reginald, and Pip… BUT NOT YOU, KAREN!”

    1. Artemesia*

      The LW crows that she still works there. I am guessing she has few options but to be abused by this manager. Alice in Wonderland would appreciate the logic; everyone else sees it as the employee abuse that it is.

      1. Dragoning*

        The initial update was only about a month or so after the original letter. Are they in the comments here that I haven’t seen?

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Or, she’s biding her time and planning her escape, which will be accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display a la Fred and George Weasley (I hope).

    1. Leela*

      This one and the one with the guy who quietly moved out of his and his girlfriend’s place without a word and then acted like she was insane for calling his family to find out if he’d, you know, DIED or something, and then later she was going to be his manager

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I favor the ones that prove that The Office is a documentary, especially mandatory fun/therapy stuff. This letter, however, has the benefit that it is the writer who is crazy. Those have a definite added element of pizzazz.

  35. designbot*

    I’m just so baffled that the OP assumes that wanting public recognition is valid but wanting a day off is not! So backwards.

    1. Greige*

      This gets me, too. In what universe is it a bigger benefit to have your coworkers sing happy birthday or sign a card than to get a paid day off?

  36. ForeverFacepalm*

    I still love how the original poster/letter writer writes, rudely, “People seemed to be unclear on the policy even though I stated it…..Employees must take their birthday off….If their birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the first working day off.” Followed by “There is no changing the date. ” and re-clarified (for when the date MAY change) “They must take their actual birthday or the first working day back (in case of a weekend or holiday).”

    Sweetie, it seems you’re the one who doesn’t understand your clearly stated policy

    1. Antilles*

      It’s 1000000000000% deflection because OP didn’t want to admit she was wrong. That’s also why OP included the whole paragraph explaining how it’s Totally Legal, even though neither Alison nor the comments section questioned that.
      As always, if the BEST thing you can say about a choice is “this isn’t actually illegal!”, you might want to take a long look in the mirror.

      1. Artemesia*

        This is ‘actually not illegal’ is in the same category with ‘he has every right to do this’ — any time those phrases are used the person is doing something bad and wrong.

        1. Candi*

          Alison has far more letters of the “it’s legal, but it’s horrible and you need to job hunt” variety than the “that is very illegal, here are resources to consult” variety. A lot of people are capable of toeing the legal but not human line.

    2. scaryspicy*

      I’m trying to wrap my head around it and I guess they’re just super hung up on the actual DATE appearing on the calendar. Since OP’s date of February 29 doesn’t appear on 3 out of 4 years’ calendars, it doesn’t exist and OP doesn’t get to “change” the date to be Feb 28/March 1. She still ages another year, but she doesn’t have an actual birthDATE. It’s remarkably, remarkbly dumb.

    3. J.B.*

      Reminds me of an ex-boss who would say “it’s absolutely clear, I don’t understand why they don’t get it” and then launch into some ridiculously complicated explanation.

  37. Never*

    Seriously, the employee gets treated like she never was born 3 years out of 4 because her birthday isn’t on the calendar? Just treat it like Feb 28 or March 1st…

    “The firm is not doing anything illegal by the laws here. She would have no legal case at all and if she quit she will not be able to get unemployment.” So giving all employees bar 1 an extra day off is fine? Whether its illegal or not its immoral and cruel. Whether it is illegal in technical terms is not the point, by the spirit of equal treatment it is wrong to treat her like this.

    “Morale is high at the firm.” Sure it is, for those who aren’t outright discriminated against. But nice try at a justification for literally discriminating and dismissing this employee due to something they cannot control. Maybe you should erase YOUR birthday from the system this year and not be given the day too, how about everyone born on the 29th of any month doesn’t get it either? Now see how you all feel.

    She isn’t overreacting by this, she is getting treated differently for no good reason.

    1. Not really a waitress*

      She says Morale is high… If i knew my coworker was being treated this way mine wouldn’t be.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Since the firm proudly denies this employee a benefit granted to everyone else, because she was accidentally born on the wrong day, imagine what this firm would do to any one who exhibited anything less than high morale?

      “Poor Bob. He failed to display high morale and we have not seen him in three months. I hope someone filed a missing person’s report.”

    3. Candi*

      I don’t believe morale is high. I believe people pretend it’s high because of the terrible management wanting it to be high. It’s very much Pointy-Haired Boss, Michael Scott, Bill Lumbergh, and I don’t know what.

  38. JelloStapler*

    What in the hell- forced birthdays except for if you happen to be born on Leap Year?

    This place is nuts.

    1. pally*

      There ya go!
      Give the leap year folks 4 gift cards and 4 days off with pay- when their birthday does come around.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I would be envious of those leap year babies. An oddball day off each year would be nice, but four in a row would be awesome! And yes, I would toss in a PTO day to make it nine days away from the office.

  39. Rockin Takin*

    It sounds like the original OP needs a visit from Leap Day William to learn about the true meaning of Leap Day.

  40. Retail4Life*

    It’s so funny how the LW is so oblivious and clearly thinks the leap year baby is being petty and then doubles down after it’s so clear that the LW is so far in the wrong as to be insane. Just goes to show some people would rather be “right” and mean than admit they are wrong and be kind, even when being kind and doing the right thing is so easy! It makes me sad for the world.

  41. Atalanta0jess*

    My head is still exploding at “she’s not losing out on anything.” She literally is not receiving the same benefits or financial compensation (gift card) as other employees. But I guess it’s ok since it’s all done in private?!? *Explode!!!*

    1. iglwif*

      It’s really amazing, right??

      And clearly whoever thought up this policy originally, they recognized that it’s the paid day off and the gift card that people most value, not having a fuss made of them on their birthday (and that, in fact, lots of people don’t want the fuss)–otherwise it would’ve been set up differently, with more individual and performative cakes and a public presentation of the gift card.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You missed one: She could have worked some else that employed LOGICAL people instead of this place.

    2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      She is literally being paid less than her coworkers because of the day she was born.

  42. RD*

    WOW. This can’t be real, right? I appreciate Alison’s editorial comment. This IS insane. And if it’s true, I have a very hard time believing morale is good at that organization. There’s no way this is the only thing they’re ridiculously up tight about.

    1. KayDeeAye*

      I’m pretty sure it is real. The petty cluelessness and insistence on “explaining” everything to us again (because clearly we simply didn’t understand the first time) in the update would be extremely difficult to fake, IMO. But in any case, it really doesn’t matter because the issue is real. There are employers who are this silly and this petty, and that’s the important thing.

  43. Red Fraggle*

    *stares* What. The what. OP, come on. Over the course of four years, everyone else gets 32 hours of birthday PTO and your Leap Year employee only gets 8 hours! How is that remotely fair or reasonable? She didn’t ask to be born on the day we use to make our Rigid Human System match back up with Irregular Universe Time. Good grief…

    1. Red Fraggle*

      (The really snarky part of me thinks that OP would have objected to adding Leap Day to the calendar in the first place. “THERE ARE 365 DAYS OF 24 HOURS AND THAT IS THAT FOREVER. Who cares that the seasons don’t line up with their original months anymore? Surely the farmers can still guess when to plant.”)

    2. Candi*

      the day we use to make our Rigid Human System match back up with Irregular Universe Time

      This is amazing and beautiful.

  44. Owlette*

    I really really really want the OP to come back and say they finally learned what they’re doing is morally wrong, but I have a worry that they learned absolutely nothing. :( I hope their employee got the eff out.

    1. Reality.Bites*

      I confess my hopes are more along the lines of hoping their country underwent an armed revolution just to get them to leave.

  45. PizzaDog*

    I still can’t believe that this is real. I’m imagining OP writing out “people whose birthdays fall on the weekend get the next business day off,” and somehow STILL not getting how easily this employee could simply have March 1st off.

    hope this employee has a splendid 6th birthday this year… oh no… the 29th falls on a Saturday!

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      LOL, right? How did LW not type the first few words of that sentence, make a horrified face, delete the letter, and immediately trot down the hall to give LDB her two missing gift cards?

  46. I Will Steal Your Pens*

    I wonder if she is treated poorly in other ways too. Based on the tone my guess is yes. But the minute my manager calls me petty like that is the minute my resume is out.

    And to the OP’s employee – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    and GTFO of there. like yesterday.

    1. Marny*

      It’s amazing to me that the OP thinks the employee is the petty one. Not the rigid manager whose only defense to this rules-are-rules nonsense is “it’s not illegal!”

  47. bunniferous*

    To the rigid OP: ok, if you want to be pedantic….then you owe your employee 4 days off every four years and four times the amount on the gift card.

    1. Lilo*

      Some places do have extra nice freebies for leaplings in their birthday. I google them every birthday to check them out. One year it was a dozen free cupcakes.

  48. Oranges*

    This LW man… I would be fascinated to see their reaction if placed in a situation where they had to ignore the rules or literally die.

    Such as: Place them on an island with insufficient natural food resources. Tell them they need to live off the land (assuming LW knows or is taught how). Have a pile of food on the island that is against the rules to eat.

    When would they break and eat the food?
    – my guess, when they’re emaciated.
    Would having another person act as a “rule breaker” planted on the island make that timeline speed up or slow down?
    – my guess, slow down (see below for reasoning)
    What would be their response to the “rule breaker”?
    – they would cling even tighter to the rules because a) there is a witness to their rule breaking b) they will feel superior to the rule breaker and this will tip the cost/benefit analysis towards abstaining from eating the food.

  49. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    I still don’t get how if your birthday is on, say, Sunday you get Monday off, but if it’s on 29th Feb you don’t get 1st March off.

    This is weird. And obnoxious.

  50. !*

    It’s MANDATORY for an employee to take their birthday off, and if it falls on a weekend, they MAKE AN ACCOMMODATION the employee can take another day off, and yet, this employee, who HAS A BIRTHDAY EVERY YEAR, is only allowed the same every four years. This is completely bananas and that the OP has no comprehension of how this could be demoralizing for an employee not to get the same exact benefit as other employees is completely rather frightening. My manager sucks but they are a gem compared to you.

  51. Zennish*

    “It’s completely appropriate and reasonable to give one employee a quarter of the benefit that the others get because policy.” Okay, glad we explained that. Policy. I feel better.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      “Yes, it’s 100% due to accident of birth, and through no fault of her own. Morale is high here.”

  52. on the 3s*

    This is a classic example of someone thinking they need to further explain their reasoning, when everyone understands their reasoning. It’s not that we don’t understand, it’s that OP’s line of reasoning is batsh!t. I doubt that there aren’t other crazy ‘letter of the law’ issues at this company, and posit that morale isn’t high, but that in niche industries as described, low turnover makes crap employers think it is. I also cannot imagine telling this management team that I *wasn’t* happy. Could you imagine the response??

    1. Aro*

      Dear AAM,
      One of my employees is complaining about our regular beatings. How do I explain that the beatings are necessary for raising morale? No one else complains!”

  53. madbrows*

    I’m SO confused. Just because the actual date of her birth doesn’t occur every year doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a birthday every year. It’s not like your employee is only a quarter of their actual age. Have the company honor the employee’s birthday on Feb 28 on non-leap years and this is probably how they celebrate their birthday. It’s such an easy thing to do as a kindness to your employee and a fellow human being!

    Who cares if it’s a niche field and morale is high (or so you think) and everyone looooooves working their. This is a morale killer. When she does get a knew job (and she will!) she’s going to tell everyone in your niche industry about this and it’s going to raise some eyebrows about how you treat people.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I wonder if this is a place where everybody just tells the boss what they want to hear when it comes to morale because to do otherwise would result in some sort of consequence to the “negative nelly?”

      Alternately, the rest of the staff possibly don’t know that this is happening to that employee.

  54. Houston, we have a problem!*

    It is insane that there isn’t just one person that thinks like this but two at this company! Manager’s manager agrees too! Two petty people!

  55. Stefanie*

    I’m sorry but the OP is highly obnoxious and irrational. If they honestly can’t see what’s wrong with basically paying one employee less and allocating them less holiday….Well. I sincerely hope the employee leaves. And please include the OP in the running for Worst Boss 2020!

  56. Katherine*

    So, does that mean this employee should get a 4-day vacation this year? Following the letter of the law is apparently REALLY IMPORTANT and if the employee hasn’t had a birthday since 2016, this must be her (if she was born in 1984) 33, 34, 35 and 36 birthday, so….. four days off? I know the OP would HATE to breach policy!!!

  57. Count Boochie Flagrante*

    It’s still so baffling to me that the OP thought the employee had nothing to complain about because birthdays weren’t announced or publicly celebrated in the office! As though the gift card and day off were of no value and it’s only having your name said in the office or written on the cake that mattered. Like, what kind of blindness is involved here? How can you be so entirely off in your estimation of someone’s priorities?

  58. Bionerd*

    I can’t help but imagine what the poor employee must have thought.
    Her: hey this is funny, hahaha, but my bday is leap day and I noticed that I didn’t get a day off this year. So who can I notify at HR to rectify this?
    Mgr: you don’t have a birthday this year. It’s totally fair you don’t get a day off.
    Her: well actually that’s not really in the spirit of the…
    Mgr: I’m right. This is fair and morale is high
    Her: thinking…This is insane

    I hope she’s found a better spot by now.

  59. iglwif*

    This letter and the even more bananapants update will stay with me forever. Like LITERALLY ACTUALLY how is this LW so entirely out of touch with how humans think, feel, and behave?! The Pirates of Penzance is not supposed to be an HR instructional video!!!

    (Also, as a fellow Canadian, I resent LW for being like this in a public emporium.)

  60. Wow. just wow*

    OP You seem to be trying to justify something that you know is morally not right. She’s a great employee, let her have a day off every year or volunteer to give her your day off if you must allocate a certain number of days a year. I know you think you are doing the right thing, but in the long run you are hurting your company’s reputation more than helping. I am not saying things to be snarky or rude, but I am really having trouble understanding your justification.

  61. Gravitas*

    So if the employee’s birthday does not fall on a workday, they get the next working day off.

    But when THIS employee’s birthday does not fall on a workday, shouldn’t she…get…the next working day off?

    Right, guys?


    1. NaoNao*

      I believe the thinking is more ‘this employee’s birthday does not fall on any calendar day, so we don’t have to recognize it as we’re not moving the celebration date, there IS no celebration date’. Kind of like if you didn’t loan someone 100$ you don’t pay them in 10$ bills, 20$ or 5$, you don’t owe them. * I don’t agree and this is insane, but it does make some kind of cracked sense*

    1. WorkIsADarkComedy*

      That’s a question we were asking when this originally was posted.

      I solidly believe it’s fake. Not only is it way over the top and stupid, but the OP got absolutely slammed the first time it came up. Does anyone really believe that he would come back to give a nothing has changed update under these circumstances?

      I think someone has having a grand old time trolling the AAM community.

      1. KayDeeAye*

        I disagree and the reason is that I have known people this petty, and I suspect you guys have, too.

        But in any case, whether the letter and update are real or not, the issue is real, and that’s the most important thing. If someone comes here to find out if it’s ethically OK to give a birthday holiday every year to every employee unless that employee’s birthday happens to be Feb. 29…well, they’ve got their answer!

  62. Amethystmoon*

    Wow. Yeah, here if you actually forced people to use their PTO for a birthday, people would definitely protest. But in the US, we get a paltry amount of PTO, compared to other countries.

    1. mf*

      Yeah, I have nothing nice to say about this LW. So, *s0* glad this person isn’t my boss. I hope their employee w/ the leap day birthday has found a better job with more money and a nicer manager!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This person’s thinking is so ridged it’s actually kind of scary.

      OP, I find your inflexibility and inability to listen to others alarming. If I were your boss I would be taking a closer look at what else you are doing here.

  63. Wowohwow*

    This is crazy. There is no way everyone is happy at this company. If I worked there I would be mad on leaps days behalf. The way OP doubles down makes it ever so clear that they are a power hungry bully.

    1. pally*

      I’m betting leap day’s coworkers have no idea about the omission. The OP wrote that the whole birthday benefit is done privately- no group get-together, gift card tucked into pay check, etc.

  64. Leela*

    “Morale is high at the firm. Turnover among employees is low. Many people want to work here.”

    This is because those people are enjoying benefits that you are withholding from her.

    I cannot, cannot, CANNOT believe that OP is doubling down on this. I’d have to imagine that she could actually show discrimination in her compensation, and the fact that she’s young and female isn’t going to look good for the company. If she took legal action, even if it didn’t go anywhere, and it got publicized enough that people knew the name of the company it would cost them a lot more than the birthday off and gift card.

  65. Susie Q*

    I hope OP realizes that she is a POS manager and should feel ashamed. Just because you aren’t breaking any laws, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing something morally wrong.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Jawdroppingly, there are many people out there that believe the words “legal” and “ethical” are the exact same thing. It sounds like OP needs to have a law written to tell her every action she should take. Don’t worry, OP, our lawmakers are working diligently on this right now and they will very soon have various laws covering every single minute of your day. You won’t have to worry about pesky commenters telling you that you are wrong. The DOL will just come in an fine your company according to the law.

      Seriously though, this right here is why we have some of the laws we have. The laws accommodate the most narrow thinking individuals among us.

      1. Candi*

        Laws tend to be reactive, not proactive. Because at least half of them aren’t needed until someone decides they can’t play nice with the neighbors.

  66. Detective Amy Santiago*

    This is probably my top letter for wanting to hear from the subject.

    Or maybe 2nd after wanting to hear from Sylvia of the infamous “I ghosted my ex and now she’s my boss” letter.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have always really wanted to hear from the employee whose manager wouldn’t let them have off for their college graduation – if only to learn what wonderful heights they had flown to after leaving that manager who always just dumped on her behind.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I lived Sylvia by proxy at a former job – no desire to learn more about that one…

          (It was a daycare setting even, I didn’t stay very long, that place had lots of other red flags too.)

  67. OhBehave*

    This is the most ridiculous update ever.
    I sincerely hope the employee has a new job (update was from 12/18). I’m not even sure why OP wrote in with such a horrible update. Do they think if they amend the policy, the hoards of those born in a Leap Year will be too much to bear?
    Amend the dang policy to say, “Those born in a Leap Year will get the 28th off.” Easy Peasy. This is NOT a hill on which to die. This just makes you a jerk.

  68. CH*

    OP seems more focused on correcting others than trying to gain any insights at all… I can just imagine how frustrating it would be to be OP’s direct report!

    1. Oranges*

      I’ve noticed the comment section will “talk among themselves” when a LW is this obtuse in an update, and get harsher in our language. We act as if the LW isn’t “in the room” basically.

      There tends to be more “this comment section is going downhill/getting mean/etc” posts too. I assume from people who don’t have that “the LW is gone, let’s talk about what just happened” feeling.

  69. Narise*

    I once read of a doctor who refused to put 2/29 on anyone birth certificate because it would cause them so many issues. Instead he stated they were born day after 2/28 which is 3/1 and would always write 3/1 and yes he told the parents.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I remember hearing that the hospital in the town I grew up in had an unofficial policy of putting 2/28 down on the State Birth Forms for leap day babies – but I was never motivated enough to find out if that was real or not.

      I’ve since moved across country and the hospital was bought out by a larger corporation so there’s no way after the fact to verify it now.

    2. Candi*

      So the story I heard about the OB who put down 2/29 babies as five minutes before/after midnight, depending on time of birth, thereby making them 2/28 or 3/1 babies, might actually be true!?!

  70. Yvonne*

    I would really like to know is if the LW had a child born on February 29th, would that child only be allowed birthday parties every 4 years? Because this is that stupid.

    1. bluebonnet*

      Someone I worked with at a previous job – her mother had chosen to have a c-section on Leap Day specifically for that reason – so she wouldn’t have to give the kid a birthday party every year. So, yeah, these types are definitely out there.

      1. lonestarbrooklyn*

        Whaaaaaaaat?! At least you didn’t work with the mother that did this and have to look her straight in the face every day. Like it’s a requirement to do a birthday party?

    2. whingedrinking*

      This kind of overly rigid, legalistic thinking is bad enough when it comes to a day off and a gift card, but you know it doesn’t stop there. I strongly believe that this manager would try to deny parental leave to people who adopt. “They’re not your biological child, therefore you’re not a parent! Now get back to work!”

  71. Baja*

    Kafkaesque. The company is applying the rules it made up itself in an insanely literal way and is gaslighting the poor employee as being petty on top of it.

  72. lkr209*

    The manager’s tone reminds me of Fred Armisen playing the Venezuelan general on Parks and Rec. “Our company has the highest morale in the world. If they don’t take their birthday off, straight to jail”.

    1. Arts Akimbo*

      “If they take their birthday too early, jail. If they take their birthday too late, jail. If their birthday is on a leap day, believe it or not, jail. People love working for our firm. Because of jail.”

      1. lkr209*

        THANK YOU, thank you, for replying and making my day! I’ve been laughing to myself about this comparison all day. Glad someone else can enjoy it with me!

    2. Third or Nothing!*

      One of my favorite threads for this letter so far. Excellent references and quotes, everyone!

  73. Health Insurance Nerd*

    I remember when this letter was originally submitted, and I remember the update the “manager” provided. It infuriated me then, and it infuriates me now. This is a truly terrible manager (and person, frankly) and the fact that they doubled down on their original stance just makes me shake my head. This poor leap year birthday girl, I hope this year she is celebrating her birthday at a better company with a better boss!

    1. Ms. Ann Thropy*

      “Morale is high at the firm.” Yeah, I doubt that. Very few workplaces are batsh*t crazy in only one respect. I’ll bet there is a lot of crazy in that workplace.

  74. Richard Hershberger*

    “(Surely you don’t believe that she only advances in age every four years, right?)”

    A paradox,
    A most ingenious paradox!
    We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
    But none to beat this paradox!

    One can find learned debates over when Frederic finally had his 21st birthday. He himself says 1940, but there are arguments to be made that he was wrong about this, starting with the obscure detail that 1900 wasn’t a leap year. In any case, the plausible answers are 1940, 1944, or 1948.

    1. Candi*

      It was the subject of one of Isaac Asimov’s Black Widowers mysteries, “The Year of the Action”, the year the action of the play took place if you were looking on the calendar.

      The solution depends on the writer of the play not knowing, or forgetting, where 1900 lands on the Leap Year rotation.

  75. Certified Scorpion Trainer*

    omg i remember this. what a nutbag i hope the employee got out. what a ridiculous manager.

  76. Rebecca*

    Seriously? OP, you cannot see how utterly rigid and silly you are? This policy is banana crackers. You are actively discriminating against someone for something that is not in their control by giving a paid day off to other workers based on nothing more than their birth date. That’s how I see it. I’m going to stop now because the commenting rules say I have to be kind. I’m not feeling kind right now.

  77. It’s all good*

    Still one of the most “what the f’able?!” post out there. Still think it’s gag post, it has to be right?!?

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Sadly I’ve known other managers that were so attached to “rules” that they couldn’t be human…….

  78. ToS*

    What happens if the employee goes to HR with the concern about unfair practice/unfair outcome? The manager looks pretty bad.

    I get that the manager has opinions. Will they hold up under senior management’s scrutiny if Leap Birthday Person gets chatted up?

    Better to back your direct reports than to quit on them before you start. You might be managing, or controlling costs. but this is weak leadership.

  79. Not really a waitress*

    I will be giddy on Monday thinking about this employee getting her day off. (Unless she is finally free of these rigid lunatics) This one as well as the manager who got mad when her fantastic employee quit on the spot so she could go to her own graduation belong in the my head is so far up my rectum I can only see by looking out my belly button award.

  80. pally*

    I can kind of see the point with this policy. This birthday benefit is viewed – by management- as akin to a healthcare coverage benefit. If an employee rejects healthcare coverage, they don’t receive an equal amount of other compensation to make up for this. They simply are not covered by the company’s healthcare.

    (yes, some companies DO provide equivalent compensation for those who do not take healthcare coverage. And that is something a forward -thinking management does for their employees. Not universal.)

    Nonetheless, this is an unkind policy. The employee didn’t ask to have a leap year birthday. And no one in their right mind is going to refuse this birthday benefit. Clearly when the policy was written no one thought about the leap year birthdays. Or, they figured management would strive for fairness and make an allowance for leap year birthdays. Guess not.

    But this is not how the employees view the birthday benefit. I’d bet the rent on that! They figure everyone gets the same on their birthday. And if they even thought about the leap year birthday folks, they probably assume management is treating them similarly. Wonder if anyone asked the other employees if they would mind if the leap year birthday employees were omitted from the benefit. I’m sure they’d object and call for parity.

    1. Ash*

      No, it would only make sense if they allowed people to take off their birthday but not the next working day. So if it falls on a holiday or weekend, tough luck. They are acknowledging that birthday observances should be flexible based on that year’s calendar, just…not for the leap day employee.

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      Hasn’t one of her coworkers thought that it was odd she is never included or has her birthday off? I’m sure she would have mentioned something to someone else.

      There HAS to be someone that this poor girl can go to. Since this is a mandatory benefit I wonder if she can go to HR frame it as I am not allowed by my manager to take the day off for my birthday since it is not a leap year!

      1. pally*

        You’d think.

        But the OP states: The firm doesn’t single out or publicly name anyone that has a birthday. People take the day off and that is it, nothing is said. The gift card is quietly enclosed with their pay stub. The cake is put in the lunchroom without fanfare for anyone that wants some. There is no email or card that goes around and no celebrating at work. If there was I could see her point, but since everything is done quietly/privately, she is not losing out on anything.

        This makes me think the co-workers have no clue leap year employee has been omitted from the benefit. And no reason to raise an objection. Which works in management’s favor.

        1. Bertha*

          Apparently they put the names on the cake – “Since she only has a birthday every four years, she does not get a day off or a gift card and is not one of the people the cake acknowledges.” (Because the cake is the one doing the acknowledging, apparently, not the company… so um.. I guess she can just blame the cake?!)

      2. LJay*

        I honestly probably would never notice if one of my coworkers were omitted from the office birthday celebrations unless they said something about it.

    3. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

      Pally it’s not the same because the leap year girl isn’t voluntarily rejecting the benefit. She is fighting to receive the same benefit as others. It’s like when they would deny you healthcare coverage if you were pregnant, which I believe (I hope!) is now illegal but was legal when it happened to me.

    4. Health Insurance Nerd*

      This is nothing like opting out of health insurance and expecting compensation in lieu of that benefit. The employee hasn’t “rejected” anything, they are, full stop, being treated inequitably and for a completely illogical reason.

  81. Rlovvo*

    I have a question for OP. What if someone was hired on Monday, Feb 29th, 2016? For benefit purposes in March 2020, would she have worked there for 1 year, or 4 years? If the company has a policy of earning addition benefits at, say, 10 years of employment, does she need to work there for 40 years to earn the same? If not, why are you insisting that birthdays are different?

    1. Blue Eagle*

      Rlovvo – you win the prize for best comment. Your analogy of Feb 29 being someone’s first day of work is genius!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I got a little miffed about this and I thought to myself, so if OP lost a loved on on Feb 29, they could not cry/grieve the next anniversaries. Because the date is not on the calendar, therefore the anniversary does not exist and there is no need to mourn/remember.

        Going the other way, what if OP meets the Perfect Significant Other except for one flaw. SO is born on Feb 29.
        So if OP is true to their beliefs, they cannot celebrate Perfect SO’s b-day either on the regular years. Fair is fair after all.

  82. Youth*

    Oh hey! I mentioned this in the open thread on Friday.

    This still stymies me. I wonder if OP still reads AAM?

  83. Betsy Bobbins*

    The obtuseness of the OP, and their boss, is astounding. They both enjoy the perk themselves so this is a real ‘let them eat cake’ moment.

    Also, how can the OP be so sure she’s not job hunting, the confidence of that statement is laughable.

  84. Hey Karma, Over Here*

    “Morale is high at the firm. Turnover among employees is low. Many people want to work here. Aside from this one issue she is a good worker and would be given an excellent reference if she decides to look elsewhere in the future.”
    Is the firm a euphemism for North Korea?

    1. Long Time Lurker, Infrequent Poster.*

      Probably an employee in a State-owned Enterprise in a country that bans JW…

      Implications unpleasant.

  85. I'm just here for the cats*

    OMG!! Just give the OP totally misunderstood what Alison was saying. SHE STILL HAS A BIRTHDAY! Include her on 2/28 birthdays and be done with it!

    If I was this person I would seriously question the ethics about this company. Everyone else gets an extra paid day off but she doesn’t because she happens to be born on a leap day!
    You know what, this year she should get extra days off to make up for the missed leap year!

  86. jiminy_cricket*

    I know there are letters on here where bosses are abusive and dangerous, but this one really gets me because this is utter nonsense parading as logic and fairness. It feels like a form of gaslighting. I too hope the Leap Year person has a new job with managers who are *actually* logical and fair.

    1. Is butter a carb?*

      Me too. I wondered why I got SO angry at this. I mean, v other terrible stuff we hear about on here. I just can’t even take it!

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I honestly some of the upset is because this is so petty and also so easy to fix. It’s like you get upset about easy to fix things because it distracts you from the things that are out of your control.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      It’s that iron-fisted thinking that does me in.

      It actually bothers me with abusive bosses also. But there’s no hope for these abusers.
      I wanna believe there is hope for OP. But every time OP writes something they prove me wrong.

  87. A_Jessica*

    Okay seriously how hard would it be to make her birthday March 1st in the system they are using to track birthdays?
    This is some of the most petty stuff I’ve ever seen.

  88. Pickaduck*

    HOW does this person not understand that it would fall under the same policy as someone whose birthday is on the weekend?

  89. Is butter a carb?*

    I remember commenting the first time around that this made me so so mad. I especially think it’s because it comes from the employee’s manager who doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong and that she responded and STILL thinks its ok. Insanity. I can’t even think about this anymore.

  90. Amber Rose*

    Happy Birthday, mistreated leap day person. I hope you are celebrating it with a great new job and a significantly less ridiculous and petty manager.

  91. Jear Desus*

    OP is one of the most insufferable people I’ve read about on the internet lately and I read AITA Reddit daily (Am I The Asshole). If they had posted there they would be absolutely obliterated. The level of delusion is truly shocking.

  92. so many questions*

    I’m still amazed that the OP AND their manager both think this is normal. This is the sort of thing I’d expect from one crazy person, working alone. How horrible is their company if this is what they’re all like?

  93. Tram*

    OMG if I were CEO and learned this is how the policy is being implemented I’d insist on a one-sentence addendum saying people born on February 29 can, in non-leap years, take March 1 off or the first workday after if it falls on a holiday or weekend. THEN I would retroactively give the employee however many days off she should have had and full awards cards payments.

    Then I’d probably seriously consider leaving given that this many people in management have zero common sense and actually enforced this stupid policy in this way.

    1. Rebecca*

      As CEO, you could fire this ridiculous manager and replace them with someone who knows how to manage.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This. OP would be so very gone. A manager cannot handle a simple matter such as leap year birthdays then they cannot possibly be able to manage people.

  94. PLM*

    This OP gives Canadians a bad name. I can’t believe someone would dig their heels in trying to justify their pettiness even if ” they’re breaking no laws”.

  95. Jake*

    I love everything about this letter, except for the fact this employee is getting screwed, of course.

    We have
    – a hilariously unselfaware manager
    – an assumption that if only we, the audience in this spectacle, clearly understood this insanity, it wouldn’t be insane
    -a complete disregard for the fact that illegal and bad managing are not synonyms
    – a kindergarten, cookie cutter way of thinking from a manager that doesn’t realize the letter of the policy is not relevant to whether or not this is fair

    It reads like a robot with an unreasonably simple algorithm was secretly planted as a manager.

    I hope the worker has moved on, or takes this day off and quits on 3/1.

  96. Joe-lean*

    Wouldn’t this workplace define the worker as being, say, 10-12 years old? Thus not legally authorized to work there? How do their customers/clients feel about their services being provided by someone aged 10-12? Oh, wait, they recognize that the employee’s age changes? Through what mechanism, magic?

  97. atalanta0jess*

    Alison, could you please consider rethinking your use of the word “insane” here (and in lots of other places)? Words like insane, crazy, etc are ableist and stigmatizing to people who experience mental health issues.

    This policy is inane (bonus, you don’t hardly have to change which letters you’re typing!). It’s nonsensical, absurd, ridiculous, unfair, wild.

    1. SMH*

      knock it off. I suffer from mental illness and this is not a hill worth dying on. Hyperbole exists. People are allowed to say “that’s insane and that’s crazy”. If that’s triggering, I’m sorry but there are so many other things that matter on this front that when you get caught up in minor things like this, the big picture gets shoved aside.

      1. Gravitas*

        Agreed. I find using specific diagnoses as indicators of how wild something is (e.g. calling overly-rigid people OCD, referring to people with disorganized policies as schizophrenic, etc) problematic, but calling something way outside of the norm “insane” or “crazy” feels very different linguistically.

        If anything, we should push the OTHER way to move language around: stop calling people with mental illnesses crazy and instead refer to them as sick/people with illnesses. Hyperbole for folks who do irrational, boundary-pushing stuff is a useful and important feature of language.

        1. Batgirl*

          Yes this. Crazy/insane means “without use of sanity or logic”. It’s offensive to apply it to illnesses, but there’s nothing wrong with using the words appropriately.

      2. bluephone*

        Word. If I wanted that type of ridiculous (some would even say “insane”) word policing, I would just reactivate my FOCA profile where the list of banned words is now up to like, 1000.
        A person with a few mental health issues who is very much okay with referring to this OP and their company as TOTALLY INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE because oh my god, they are being so insane, seriously, WTEF.

    2. i_am_eating_cheetos*

      There are many definitions of the word “insane”—one is mentally ill, irrational and illogical are others.

      I agree that words that define mental health shouldn’t also define other things!

    3. Atalanta0jess*

      I know there are lots of opinions on this term, but I’m far from alone in thinking it’s not the best, and I’m not necessarily asking that it be disallowed here, just that some thought about how it’s use is being role-modeled would be helpful.

  98. Raina Potter*

    That was much less of an update than a defense of insanity. It never fails to surprise me how far people are willing to go to prove they’re not wrong when clearly that’s not the case.

  99. The Tin Man*

    I not only hope this employee has a new job but that the letter writer and their boss are unemployed. I do not often with misfortune on people but I can’t fully think about the depth of their pettiness and indifference without becoming almost sickened with rage.

  100. SomeoneSomewhere*

    ”If their birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the first working day off. There is no changing the date.”
    A) that is changing the date
    B) Why is it okay to give a day off on the next working day if it falls on a weekend/holiday and not if your birthday falls on a leap year.
    You are NOT following your own policy consistently.

    1. scaryspicy*

      My only reasonsing is that the manager is thinking that if February 29th doesn’t appear on the calendar, then the employee would be “changing their birthdate” by celebrating it on Feb 28th/Mar 1 when that isn’t TECHNICALLY her birthdate. I guess she’s thinking “You’ve aged another year, but your actual birthdate did not appear on the calendar this year, therefore too bad, so sad.”

  101. Hey Karma, Over Here*

    Can we not overlook the part about:
    “We are not offending any Jehovah’s Witnesses here, so nobody should worry about that. The State considers them a cult, so we would not hire them.”
    Dear Supreme Leader,
    DAFUQ is going on here?
    Evil Foreign Tourist

    1. Amethystmoon*

      They probably have them, just that they’re not being honest about their religion. I mean, it happens all the time in America. People don’t force others to be honest about their beliefs at work, generally. There would be lawsuits galore here.

      1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        I did have a parenthetical reading, (so they stay hidden) but I decided that was not the proper tone for Supreme Leader. Under Firm rule, all are happy, all living as their true selves. Nobody hides from under the benign and generous rule of The Firm.

        1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

          Morale is high.

          No one is in the cult. The cult is banned.

          Moral is high.

          No one is in the cult. The cult is banned.

    2. 404UsernameNotFound*

      Dear Evil Foreign Tourist,
      Only one cult at a time, please.
      Supreme Leader

  102. H.C.*

    Wow, the OP went from needlessly petty in the letter (tho I’m amused that OP thinks their leap year employee is the petty one) to going out of their way to be a jerk in the update.

    Hope Leap Year Employee’s wish of a better manager and/or employer comes thru by the time her next “non-birthday” pops up in 2021.

  103. America can have you*

    Does the op think this person is around 8 years old then What an absolute clown, how do these people even find employment. I wouldn’t mention you’re Canadian anymore, we dont want you.

    1. LawLady*

      *Employee reaches to take a beer at the employee happy hour*

      “Oh no, sorry, you’re 8 years old and can’t drink by our insane rules.”

  104. TimeTravelR*

    If my birthday falls on Saturday I get off Monday, but if my birthday just “doesn’t happen” because the calendar skips over, I don’t get the next business day off??!?!?! WTF

  105. Jellyfish*

    I wonder if the OP’s manager actually agreed here, or if she misrepresented the situation to him. If OP said the Leap Day worker made a big deal of not having her birthday publicly acknowledged, rather than she was upset about missing out on the benefits entirely, it would make sense the manager thought LD was immature.
    Otherwise, I must conclude that whole department (at least) is unhealthily committed to the letter of the law.

  106. LawLady*

    Beyond the pettiness here, one thing I’ve always wondered about is the practice that the day off MUST fall on the employee’s birthday. Are there no important meetings or deliverables at this job? On my last birthday, I had a closing. I’m exempt and can generally take days off when I please and just shift my work around, but there are some important things that cannot be moved, and it would be BIZARRE to not be able to take the day off the next day.

    1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      Can you not read!!???? “Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary.” MANDATORY!!!!
      Morale is high.

      Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary.
      Morale is high.

      Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary.
      Morale is high.

      Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary.
      Morale is high.

      1. Decima Dewey*

        “No. OP, I said ‘Morales is high’. She’s sitting in the corner giggling and eating box after box of crackers.”

  107. time for lunch*

    “Sorry you spun the wheel and landed on the YOU LOSE birthday. Not my problem!” These people are idiots.

  108. Jennifer Juniper*

    So much for the stereotype of the nice Canadian! That LW sounds about as warm and empathic as Seven of Nine.

      1. Candi*

        Seven of Nine was also capable of a basic level of compassion, and a solid level of logic. Including understanding calendars.

  109. Bopper*

    You should be consistent…if your birthday is on a weekend you don’t get a day off.
    Also, you should either include her in this because you are celebrating the person and include her, or not because you don’t really care one bit.

  110. Philo Pharynx*

    It would be interesting to hear from a Canadian labor lawyer. Or maybe a Labour lawyer. I have heard that for many types of laws in Canada, February 28 and February 29 are legally considered one day. See the following.

    Likewise, the BC Motor Vehicle Act specifically defines March 1st as the legal “birthday” for leap-year babies in years without a February 29th. And Ontario Legislation Act sets out that “the anniversary of an event that took place on February 29 falls on February 28, except in a leap year.”

    I would expect that there might be a legal case on this basis for the time not granted and the money not granted.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      That’s a really good point. The OP wasn’t IN Canada, just from Canada. Whatever country they ARE in, it probably has similar legislation about leap year events.

      So, the company is very likely NOT in compliance with country HR regulations, and yet is remaining stubbornly committed to the most ridiculous HR policy ever conceived.

      1. Candi*

        A quick Google shows several states with 2/28 or 3/1 as the legal boundary on non-leap years. I didn’t find a federal law, but it was a quick and dirty search, so it could be buried somewhere.

  111. lost academic*

    By your own statements and admission according to this policy you are doing this wrong and it speaks volumes to the kind of person you are professionally and your corporate desire to nickel and dime someone over this. You clearly stated that the employees MUST take the day off, paid, and if it doesn’t fall on a workday they must take the next workday off. The application of the policy for a February 29 birthday is thus clearly covered in non leap years. She cannot take off February 29, 2021 as it does not occur. February 28 will fall on a Sunday. Thus, March 1, Monday, of 2021 is clearly the next working day after this person’s birthday and you must have her take the day off and provide pay. Same goes for 2022: February 29 does not occur, the day after the birthday is a workday, Tuesday, and is the day the employee will have off.

    It doesn’t matter one whit that you have high morale and people want to work there. You are going out of your way to screw over someone for a rounding error of cost and effort. That says to me you’ll find other ways to do it to other people.

    I assume if you have a child with a February 29 birthday you would similarly refuse to celebrate it.

  112. Cruciatus*

    I wonder if the OP is still here, somewhere among us. Making comments on posts. Or were they just a one time write-in thing? Do they think of this letter every February like I do?

    I doubt we’ll ever get an update to the update but I’d love one. Though the OP has proven they are not particularly self-aware enough to realize how foolish they were acting so it may be better we don’t unless the employee got her birthday acknowledged and was apologized too profusely or burned every bridge down at this company while she was leaving.

  113. SheLooksFamiliar*

    The OP’s ‘I’m just adhering to policy’ stance that pisses me off to no end. It costs literally nothing to give the employee her birthday off – just like every employee! – and could create valuable goodwill for the employer. But no, the manager insists, with wide eyes (blink blink!), that she will abide by policy to the letter. And if the employee feels singled out or cheated of a benefit literally everyone else has gotten annually, well, it’s because she’s unreasonable.

    OP, this not the hill you should choose to die on and, believe me, chose it. You could just as easily have chosen to give the employee her birthday off every year since you hired her. But no, you had to show her you don’t flex for any reason, even good ones. And you also showed you don’t know how to exercise good judgment. That doesn’t make you a good manager, just a rigid one. Shame on you. Yes, I said it. Shame on you.

  114. Curmudgeon in California*

    The situation is unfair. People she works with get an extra day off three out of four years, plus get extra gift cards in three out of four years. The situation is shorting her on perks because of the day she was born on. Arbitrary as hell, still discrimination.

  115. stitchinthyme*

    The worst of it is the OP doubled down in the update and clearly did not take in a word of what Alison said. I really hope the employee has found a better job by now, because only getting 1/4 the benefit that everyone else is would be a serious morale killer.

    1. Lynn Marie*

      Well and that it’s still framed as what to do about this “problem” employee who won’t stop complaining about it, and how to get the employee to swiften up and accept the impeccable logic involved. Clearly we didn’t understand the logic the first time, so she’s explaining it to us again. I wonder how many times the “problem” employee has had to sit through the same explanation. I wonder how the “problem” employee manages not to scream every time.

  116. Me*

    FFS dates and calendars are a human construct. She still has a birthday – it’s the day after the 28th of February. I don’t like to be mean but this is willfully ignorant.

    Morale is not high, people are just afraid of managers like you.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Also if she’s really only 12 or something absurd based off of “Born on a leap year and only ages every 4 years”, then let’s discuss child labor laws, y’all. *fans the flames*

  117. CatTies*

    Long time lurker first time poster…

    But all I have to say is…just become something isn’t “legally wrong” doesn’t mean it is not wrong in other ways. Your poor employee.

  118. Michelle*

    If the OP actually reads this and get this far: We have a leap year birthday employee and we celebrate her, along with all the other February birthdays. We just do so on the 28th or March 1st if she not here on the 28th.

    Also, you and your manager should be ASHAMED of saying she is “petty”, “unprofessional” and “should not be focused on something as small as a birthday”. FOR REAL? Do you and your manager get the day off? Do people know the cake in the break room on your birthday month includes you? Maybe her birthday is a “small” issue to you, but I bet her parents, friends and loved ones feel differently.

    Make no mistake OP- you and your manager are the petty, unprofessional ones. Only allowing her a birthday off once every 4 damn years. It’s an easy policy to amend but no, you, your manger and company want to continue to treat one employee differently because she had the misfortune to be born on Feb. 29th. You company sucks.

    1. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

      If it was just the cake, I could see it as being a little bit petty, but a paid day off and a gift card are quite significant benefits that I would be so pissed off at missing out on, even if I didn’t celebrate birthdays.

      1. Me*

        No if it was “just” a cake it would not be the least bit petty. Intentionally excluding an employee is unbelievably gross behavior.

        Petty would be the nasty manager and her boss.

      2. BenevolentGodzilla*

        If I were that employee, even being excluded from just the cake would make me feel like I didn’t matter. As an employer, I would never want to be responsible for affecting one of my employees that way. I would want them ALL to feel valued and important. This is such a simple thing. It’s mind boggling that they are choosing this hill to die on.

      3. Third or Nothing!*

        Agreed with other responders that the cake is not petty. The cake is something to make people feel appreciated and it is petty to exclude someone when it would be so so easy to include them and show that they’re valued too.

        It’s like ordering food for everyone and not getting the dairy free person a sandwich without cheese because they should be grateful they’re even getting anything at all.

  119. Campfire Raccoon*

    If I were the OP’s manager, and found out they were making whackadoodle decisions like this regarding their reports, I would SERIOUSLY question the OP’s decision-making skills. This is not someone who should be making business decisions, let alone managing people.

    1. cleo*

      Interesting. I’ve been assuming that the OP doubled down because of pressure from above or because of a pervasive company culture of “don’t make waves”.

  120. Willow Corner*

    Every so often I come across a story that reminds me of the benefits of working for a company run by rational functioning adults. This is one of those stories. I shared it with our VP of HR. Her comment was “That HR person should be charged with malpractice and fired.”

  121. AFRS*

    Thank you for reposting! The utter lack of empathy, kindness, and self-awareness that this is unfair is beyond ridiculous.

  122. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Also if the whole “If it’s a weekend, you get the next work day off” makes it even more insane.

    So the 29th doesn’t exist in a year…then just give her the first working day after that fictional day, March 1 or whatever day in March is the first working day.

    It’s seriously so stupidly simple, I’m hurting my head continuing to think about it. If it was “oh it fell on a weekend or holiday, too bad, so sad, you don’t get your birthday off.” I could see this argument. Kind of. If I were to throw my glasses into a river and jump up and down holding by breath but still, I could make myself see it some how.

  123. Essess*

    WTH??? You said the policy is that they get the first working day off after their birthday. That means the person should be getting March 1 off every single year that isn’t a leap year because that is the first working day after Feb29 in that year. The fact that you gave everyone else a gift card each year and paid time off and not the OP smacks of a violation in benefits. You are deliberately excluding one employee from a payment benefit that every other employee at the company gets. I hope the employee does file a legal challenge about that.

  124. Lemon Squeezy*

    So, OP, your employee was born in at least the 1940s calendar-wise, right? Since by your logic that her birthday only occurs during leap years, she’d otherwise be rather young for you guys to employ.

    Sometimes it’s not about legality. Sometimes it’s about not behaving scummy.

  125. learnedthehardway*

    I’m laughing in disbelief over here – the sheer level of wackiness to this policy is simply BEYOND!!!

    It’s like an episode of “Yes! Minister!” was set in “The Office”.

    Honestly, it makes you wonder what other wacky business practices the company has.

  126. em*

    My favorite part of this is how they’re like “it’s ONLY a gift card and a paid day off and a name on a cake! She’s not missing anything!” So… you offer a perk that you consider to be worthless? Why even bother??

    1. Marthooh*

      My favorite part is in the update: the insistence that the day off is mandatory and nobody else complains about that!

  127. Alex*

    I’m picturing happy hour with coworkers at this company, and the OP being appalled that this adult is drinking when she hasn’t yet had 18 birthdays (or whatever the drinking age might be where they are).

  128. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

    A paid day off is technically a form of compensation no? So they are denying her compensation 3 out of the 4 years. Either way, I hope the employee enjoys her day off or better yet, at a better workplace with sane people.

  129. Ms. Green Jeans*

    Get a doctor’s note stating that your birthday occurs every year and when. Doc would have a good laugh but would probably write the (completely unnecessary) letter.

  130. Moocowcat*

    The title made me feel hopeful that the OP had provided an update saying they Realised the Error of Their Ways.
    Sadly not, though it’s great that February 29th exists.

  131. Jennifer*

    “Leap Day birthdays are immoral and must never be acknowledged under ANY circumstances! Any deviation from this policy may result in swift discipline, up to and including termination!!”

    I get a kick out of people who are passionate about things that don’t matter at all.

  132. The Other Dawn*

    This is one of a few letters I’ll never be able to wrap my head around. INSANE. And so, so rigid. Mandatory to take their birthday off (I’d actually be fine with being told I have to take my birthday off and not have to use PTO) and leap year babies only get it off every four years. And OP still thinks there’s nothing wrong with this!

  133. Employee #24601*

    The worst employers are the kind who fall back on arguments about legality instead of focusing on what is actually fair and right.

    They are also, typically, the employers who believe that morale is high, but, in reality, people are just afraid of them.

  134. Frankie*

    It’s weird that it’s not just LW denying the day off & gift card, but LW’s manager, as well. That level of obtuseness is…intense…

  135. It's a New Day!*

    I am also Canadian. I am sorry for the petty actions of my country-person.

    Wow. It’s bad enough when you are not included in something that actually relates to your job. But this? No birthday celebration or day off even though everyone else HAS to take one?

    No measley gift card?

    I think there is something else about this situation that this manager is playing out. There is some reason she is trying to make this employee feel demeaned.

    As a person with a disability I can say that this reaction is not uncommon. People get triggered by all sorts of things, that make them have to pull power moves to cover their feelings.

    1. Candi*

      If I want to feel powerful, I write or go into a video game to play a PC. Taking it out on real people is slimy, and not very satisfying.

  136. emmelemm*

    It’s so seldom that the AAM comments are so unilaterally united. And yet, here we are! Congratulations, OP, you found something not even the most contrarian of contrarian AAM readers could stand for.

  137. AndersonDarling*

    I hope the Leap Year employee gets 4 days off this year to make up for all the lost years. That would be sweet.

  138. Kelly*

    I still think about this post from time to time! I now know someone who has a birthday on February 29th and I couldn’t wait to share this post with her. Absolute insanity. I hope the report has an amazing, WELL DESERVED, day off!

  139. Coder von Frankenstein*

    If the best defense you can muster for your behavior is “It isn’t actually illegal,” that’s generally a sign that you are in the wrong and should stop.

  140. Dittany*

    What I find fascinating about this is how much the OP focuses on whether or not the policy is legal, as if that was the problem that people have with the policy. Is it *legal* to mass-text all of your employees at 3 am to unload about your breakup, or institute mandatory Friday meetings so that everyone can coordinate their outfits for the next week, or demand that all incoming employees include a lock of hair with their sign-on paperwork? Sure, probably. Is it good management? No.

  141. Anonymous Poster*

    Ok but I hope you’re 100% comfortable with losing an employee because you refuse to give them their birthdays off because they were unlucky enough to be born on a Leap Day.

    Because that’s how you lose employees that are born on Leap Days.

  142. Hiring Mgr*

    It might seem like a small thing, but rules are rules. Let this slide and next thing you know, people are leaving dirty dishes in the sink or microwaving fried calamari. Personally, I like knowing where things stand and what will or won’t be tolerated.

    If anything, blame the employee’s parents for conceiving a child approximately 9 months before a leap day, knowing this was a possible outcome. /s

  143. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

    Well damn, I was really hoping that manager wrote in and had a better update!

    Happy birthday (this year and every year) birthday woman!

  144. O'Bunny*

    As a Canadian, I apologize for the misguided efforts of an expat Canadian.

    As a person who was officially born on Feb. 28 in a leap year, but whose late father made a comment (after going deeply into Alzheimer’s) that makes me wonder whether I was actually registered as being born a day earlier than I really was, there are rare occasions that I’m glad that I wasn’t registered on the 29th. I was born long enough ago that there was often a lag of a few days or more between birth and registration.

    1. Donkey Hotey*

      With love and respect to my northern siblings: You apologizing for another unknown Canadian is peak Canada. I’d send you a Tim Horton’s gift card, if I could.

  145. StaceyIzMe*

    Really, the only way I could see this making some sort of weird, equitable sense is if they decided “right, one birthday per four years and so four paid days off to equal the yearly day off others get”. Otherwise, the company needs to get over itself already and simply, equitably and logically go “you know, we count days based on an artificial division of months and years, so why don’ t we try a little flexibility here and just give an alternate day off….”. But that would actually require some emotional, as well as intellectual engagement.

  146. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

    To anyone thinking the letter writer is Satan: he’s not. He’s the guy who runs into the 7–11 to get Satan a pack of cigarettes.

  147. BurnOutCandidate*

    I want to be like President Jed Bartlett here and shout at the letter writer, “Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong!”

    I hope that, somewhere along the time, the letter writer and the manager understand just how insane and petty they were and are.

  148. Mel 2*

    “Employees must take their birthday off. This is mandatory and not voluntary. They are paid and don’t have use their own time off. If their birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the first working day off.”
    So by this definition, the leap year birthday should get March 1st off, or the first working day after March 1st.

  149. Dumpster Fire*

    This manager sucks and is not going to change.
    But I hope the Leap Day employee has gotten out of there.

  150. Erin*

    I don’t get it. If you can be flexible in situations when birthdays fall on a weekend or holiday, why can’t you be flexible in this circumstance?

    Early happy birthday to that employee, though! I hope she’s received a better employment situation.

  151. First time Commenter*

    This was the first story that I ever read on AAM and I have been hooked ever since. I didn’t know there was an update though.

  152. BenevolentGodzilla*

    I find the mandatory birthday off a bit bizarre in itself. I mean, having your birthday off is a nice perk, but being forced into it is not. My current employer gives us the day off for our birthday, with the option to float it to another day. This year my birthday fell on a Thursday, so I worked that day and took Friday to make a long weekend.

    Also this part: “she is a good worker and would be given an excellent reference”…soooo why not keep her happy with something simple like treating her the same way you treat every other employee.

    1. pentamom*

      It’s strange, but I guess it’s not so different from having a mandatory holiday off. It’s just that it’s different for every employee because it’s their birthday, not some holiday that falls on the same day for everyone.

      It’s bizarre, but IMO not really objectionably so.

  153. Oliver J*

    The day still happens though, it’s just called March 1st every other year. How is that not obvious? And there’s two of them who think this! And then there’s the pigheaded refusal to listen to any other opinion. Ugh.

  154. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Making the point that it’s legal to follow this policy doesn’t make it right. You are digging your heels in where it is totally unnecessary. You may think your employees are happy with the way things exist now, but my guess based on the attitude coming out of your letter, is that they’re just too afraid to speak up and let you know how ridiculous this policy is (and probably others) are, because if you’re this rigid over something like this, I’m betting there are many other things you need to lighten up on.

  155. StellzBellz*

    WTF manager person? Are you insane? You are docking her pay (both in paid time off and the gift card) and digging in your heels that it is totally fair?

    And for the record, in the US, if the employee was the only employee of a legally protected class she could sue you for disparate impact discrimination to get paid for the days and gift card $$ that she is not receiving but all the other employees are every year. I mean that would be one of the most petty discrimination suits I’ve ever seen and a judge might throw it out, but if you’re going to be that petty and cheap your company deserves it.

  156. Donkey Hotey*

    If the employee “only gets a birthday once every four years” the OP may not have a time-off problem but they do have a child-labor problem. That means the employee is what… six? seven years old?

    Absolutely amazed that this is the hill they are willing to die on.

  157. Heidi*

    I love that somewhere out there, Leap Day employee has no idea that we’re filled with righteous indignation on her behalf. Perhaps someday she’ll find this post and recognize it. Happy Birthday, you! I hope you found a nicer boss.

  158. Galahad*

    Since she ages 4 years every leap year, she gets 4 paid mandatory days off next week, plus 4x gift card amount, right?

  159. DaisyC*

    First of all, what a horrible manager/company for continuing to treat her this way.

    Secondly, how do you “ban” Jehovah’s Witnesses? Isn’t it illegal to discriminate employment based on religion?

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      There’s a section on the JW wikipedia page that explains this, but certain governments (China, Russia, etc.) have banned them from operating in the country and confiscated JW property. It’s not the company; it’s the country/government.

      1. DaisyC*

        Ok, makes more sense if not in North America. Sidenote: how would they know? would you have to disclose your religion before being hired?

        1. Donkey Hotey*

          Not necessarily, but there are other identifying factors (no birthdays, no observations of holidays other than Nisan 14, no blood donations/transfusions, and no standing/observing the national anthem) which can make them stand out.

          1. DaisyC*

            I knew about those things but they don’t typically come up in an office environment. And there are some that don’t celebrate their birthday, but aren’t JW either. (Thanks though)

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            My sense is that it’s the refusal to participate in compulsory military service or any show of “patriotism” that tends to create the most problems with the states in question.

        2. pentamom*

          I don’t think the idea is that they’re banned from employment; in those countries they’re banned, period. They’re not allowed to assemble, own property, proselytize, etc., the usual things that affect banned religions in places that do that. I don’t think people are forced to disclose what’s in their heads, just that the religion is not allowed to function as an organized religion, which is going to make members of that religion quite rare, and foreign practitioners of that religion unlikely to move there.

      2. Candi*

        I can’t help noticing that the list of places that ban them overlaps with lists of places that are heavily “all glory to the State”, the kind where the State is all to levels that defy religion. JWs are very, very much against anything that smacks of “worshiping” the state; they don’t salute governmental flags of countries either, or sing the anthems. And heavily “the State is the one” countries don’t like that attitude.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      They don’t fall under “religion” in some places. They are listed as a “cult” which is a different ball of wax.

      It’s like how some “religious sects” have been pegged as Hate Groups and therefore not allowed in Canada!

      Some countries do registrations for religion affiliation on things, these are places you usually do not want to go and people are actively trying to flee of course.

  160. HRtripp*

    This is birthday discrimination!!!

    No policy will ever be “one size fits all” sometimes you need to make adjustments. The important thing is that if you do need to make adjustments you do so in a consistent manner. If your policy allows for flexibility for people whose birthday falls on a holiday or weekend then it should allow flexibility for people who were born on a leap year…

    Your morale in the office may be high and she still may be working for your company but you and your boss are still wrong. Hopefully, she’ll realize that and find a company that give her a little more respect.

  161. Alice*

    Happy birthday, Leap Year Employee. I hope you found a new job. I hope you found it 2 years ago and left your employer with no notice period. I hope you stole their stapler on your way out.

  162. Elizabeth West*

    Cue Wayne from Letterkenny saying “HARD NO.”

    OP, your company’s policy is willfully stupid. I’m glad I don’t work there; my birthday often falls on a federal holiday when most workplaces are closed. I can totally imagine whoever thought this up finding a way for me not to take it.

    This petty bullshit seriously makes me wonder how you and the company are screwing over this person and /or other employees. A workplace short-sighted enough to do this is probably messed up in other, more profound ways. I really hope the employee finds a way to get the hell out of there.

  163. RubyJackson*

    If they don’t believe she advances in age because she doesn’t have a ‘birth’ day anniversary every year, then by employing her, isn’t that considered child labor?

    1. Donkey Hotey*

      I remember once telling someone I was going to the birthday of “the only seven year old I know who likes scotch and cigars.”

  164. Spek*

    why do you write to an advice column and then steadfastly refuse to accept the advice given (and backed up 100x in the comments)?

    1. Candi*

      From the tone, she seems to be like graduation boss -she wanted validation and support, not the “WHAT!?!” she got.

  165. Carmen Sandiego*

    If you read carefully you’ll notice that it’s probable that the OP is in Russia or Spain(Asia and Middle East are also probable, but less likely IMO). Not defending thier ridiculous rigidity, but work and civil culture is really different from US and Canada in both locations.

    1. Candi*

      Russians and Spaniards are both capable of flexible thinking, especially around something like the modern calendar that has existed for about 300 years at this point. Humanity has been dealing with extra “days” in the calendar to make up time since the Egyptians.

      The OP is simply being obtuse about an easily-fixable rule concerning a well-known fact of human existence.

  166. PennyLane*

    Obviously everyone loves the policy- because they are being given extra perks that only 1 single employee is not getting. How would you feel if that was your birth date? Would you want to be treated this way and forgo additional time off and money?

    Wow OP, I hope you realize you are being a terrible manager here. If someone’s birthday is on the weekend, they can get the next work day off, but just because the calendar stupidly skips that exact date, this employee gets no day off? Why not just let her take the next day? It makes zero sense and it’s weird you’re being so stubborn about it despite the feedback from everyone here.

    Also, she’s not job hunting ‘as far as you know’. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that refused me extra compensation and PTO for such an illogical reason. As Alison said, you and your manager are the ones being petty; not your employee. Ever heard the expression, do FOR your employees, not TO them? I can only imagine what other kind of mismanagement is happening in this organization.

  167. Betty (the other betty)*

    Now I want to know: is the company closed on Christmas or New Years Day? If someone is born on December 25 or January 1, do they get an additional day off for their birthday, or do they lose the birthday benefit because the company is already closed that day?

    Also, does the manager’s boss know about the asshat way the manager is interpreting the policy for leap day birthdays?

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Yes, the original letter says that the manager’s boss feels that the employee is being petty and that the manager (LW) agrees with the boss.

      In short, both of them suck.

    2. scaryspicy*

      The manager says if an employee’s birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the next working day off.

      My only translation of this mess is that the manager steadfastly believes the Leap Year employee’s birthday doesn’t “fall” at all in non Leap Years, and she’s not permitted to then “pretend” her birthday is either Feb 28 or March 1. If Feburary 29 doesn’t appear on the calendar, then there is no birthdate that year. She still ages (I would wager that the manager believes she ages another year on midnight March 1), she just doesn’t have the actual day to call her birthday and therefore is not entitled to the birthday benefits.

      It’s bonkers.

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        I’m fairly certain that is LW’s logic. Since there is no actual calendar birth date 3 out of 4 years, she doesn’t have a real birthday those years and just pretends her birthday is the day before or after. And of course you can’t allow benefits for pretend birthdays. That way lies madness. /s

      2. pentamom*

        Right. They age, they just don’t have a birthday, so why should they get the privileges of having a birthday?

        There’s a certain strictly literal logic to that, but it’s not a reasonable way to treat an employee, and it’s really disturbing to think that LW thinks “we should base how we treat this person based strictly on semantics even though that denies her something that we’re totally willing to grant every other employee.”

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          There’s a certain strictly literal logic to that, but it’s not a reasonable way to treat an employee, and it’s really disturbing to think that LW thinks “we should base how we treat this person based strictly on semantics even though that denies her something that we’re totally willing to grant every other employee.”
          And then, icing on the cake, call her complaints about this disparate treatment “petty”.

          Truly, this is a situation for the flames-on-my-face speech (

    3. Betty (the other betty)*

      Oops, just answered my first question: “If their birthday falls on a weekend or holiday, they get the first working day off.”

      Still wondering about the asshat thing, though.

  168. Goldenrod*

    I would quit that job in a hot minute, JUST OVER THIS. Actually, I would also quit if I found out this was happening to SOMEONE ELSE. Giving one employee fewer days off per year just because of a quirk in the timing of their birthday is, like Alison said, INSANE.

    Also demoralizing and unfair! They are missing out on a benefit that others get. It doesn’t help that they *eventually* get the benefit every 4 years. This is nuts.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      AND it’s not clear that they quadruple up on the benefit every four years. I’m pretty sure this poor leapling gets one day this year. Grrrrrr!!!

  169. bluephone*

    I really hope that the Leap Day employee writes to Alison some day to say that they’ve long since found a new job, they celebrate their Leap Day birthday however they wish (including with an acknowledgment from their new company if their new company swings that way), AND that she names both the LW and the LW’s company. Because this company seriously needs everyone to point and laugh at them over how ridiculous and petty* they’re being.

    *It’s not even like, pettiness that will achieve anything, you know? It’s useless pettiness which is somehow the worst type of pettiness.

  170. Falling Diphthong*

    I continue to believe this was a case of retrofitting the standard to whatever the software was determined to do, and calling that a policy.

  171. PoppyK*

    So if this company truly believes that their employee ONLY has a birthday every 4 years then they must understand that they are (probably illegally) employing someone who is only 5 or 6 years old. They should stop being a giant dick and give her a deserved day off every year like everyone else.

  172. Nora*

    The cake part is what really kills me. The cake is for everyone born in the month of February! The person born on leap day was born in February!

    1. pentamom*

      Yeah, but THIS February doesn’t have 29 days so she was born in a different kind of February that we don’t HAVE this year!

      Bonkers, absolutely bonkers.

  173. Ms. Green Jeans*

    Send yourself a big bouquet of flowers and balloons, delivered to the office, EVERY year. How about a singing telegram, too?

      1. Jen S. 2.0*


        That goes double if it’s Danny DeVito, the sobbing stripper in that one episode of Friends.

  174. QuinFirefrorefiddle*

    Infuriating. But I also wonder how many other employees know this is happening. In her shoes I’d be so tempted to bring in cupcakes and wear a party hat on Feb 28 in non leap years and let people ask questions.

  175. Aquawoman*

    It seems to me that by the employer’s logic, they have hired someone who is only 6 or 7 years old and are thus violating the child labor laws.

  176. Melanie*

    Are you serious, bro? Like for real?

    And you didn’t “state” it was a “policy” in your original letter. You said it was a perk. A perk is not the same as a policy.

    It’s just insane that if someones birthday falls on a weekend, of course that counts and they take the next working day off, but your employee (who is excellent) doesn’t get her birthday off simply because of a Gregorian quirk. The day still exists, pal!!

    I’ll bet you that your employee who was born on January 1st also gets January 2nd off… So holidays count, and weekends count, but hers doesn’t?

  177. Oof*

    My favorite was the part where they were surprised commentators did not realize she was the manager.
    Gee, I wonder why!

    1. Llama Face!*

      Right? Because she never said anything in the first post about being a manager and talked about the issue as something that “my manager agrees with”. It sounded like she was just a coworker with a mean streak or vendetta against her colleague. (Because why else would she be so invested in making sure the leap year employee didn’t get something that everyone else was entitled to).

  178. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee*

    I’ve thought about this letter so often since it was first published- especially because the first update was so ridiculous. I also wonder that if OP’s company is so obsessed with the employee only having a birthday once every four years, are they then counting her as being 7 or 8 years old? If they’re going to be so ridiculous and petty about her aging, then it seems like the next ridiculous jump in logic that she inform them that they are violating child labor laws.

  179. Lemonbalm*

    I just…. mind blown on this one… can they not see the error of their ways. Also as a fellow Canadian you are giving us a bad name!

    This is just insane and unnecessarily cruel especially if everyone else is made to take off their birthday. You could easily give her March 1st every year because it comes after but no. You choose to be a horrible boss over something so easily fixed. It is things like this why people leave.

    I hope she finds something better and realizes how terrible you were to her…

  180. BookFan*

    Just saw this and it seemed relevant. Even Olive Garden understands Leap Year Birthdays.

  181. Peaches*

    Aside from this one issue she is a good worker

    This is YOUR/YOUR FIRM’S ISSUE!! Not your employee’s issue!!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      Also. If the WORST THING you can say about someone is “they aren’t happy that they’re forced to miss out on a benefit that EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON HAS”, seriously…seriously think about your life right now…

  182. ap*

    Still insane.

    If the company didn’t give people the next work off when their birthday falls in a weekend, then I could understand the b&w logic of the situation. I’d find it cold but there would be a certain logic.

    But this is still bananas.

  183. kobayashi*

    No comment on the underlying insanity, but Jehovah’s Witnesses are not really banned in Canada, are they? I had to Google it because it seemed so incredibly backwards for Canada, and as far as I can figure, they used to be (what on Earth?) but aren’t now? Geez!

    1. kobayashi*

      I refreshed my memory – this is another country, not Canada. Still terrible, but at least my opinion of Canada is still intact. :)

    2. DaisyC*

      Must not be Canada. OP said “I live and work outside of North America” but did not specify country.

  184. Katie from Scotland*

    Can you imagine if the Leap Year Birthday lady had started on Tuesday 1 March 2016 and worked there the whole time, never knowing her colleagues were quietly getting birthday days off and she was excluded? And then she shows up on Monday 2 March 2020 to be told to go home for her birthday and discovers she’s been CHEATED OUT OF BIRTHDAYS for 3 years already without knowing?!?!
    I’d never come back.

  185. fogharty*

    I wish Leap Year Employee reads AAM and would reply! For one brief shining moment, upon reading the headline, I thought she had.
    It might be fun to have a “How does your workplace handle birthdays?” discussion sometime.

  186. Terrie*

    OP – do you even know why we have a leap year? Google it. Science fact out of the way. Now you will see you are actually discriminating against your employee and making it even worse. Fix this now. I wish this happened in my workplace – I would tell this person who has a leap year birthday to take it right up the HR channels and seek outside legal advice.

  187. Jason*

    You are a terrible manager: not only are you petty, but stubborn and unwilling to recognize your obvious folly.
    This employee should quit, and you deserve every bit of disruption that it will cause.

  188. I'd Rather Not Say*

    Give everyone a “floating holiday” in honor of their birthday to be taken any time in their birth month – there, I fixed it.

  189. Brihanne LeMarre*

    I’m 100% with all the commenters who are hoping the Leap Year employee is long gone and out of that situation because it’s awful; but, I find myself secretly hoping they’re sticking around until this coming Tuesday, after their birthday day off, when they can return just to hand in their notice.

  190. XtinaLyn*

    Who was it that said, “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD”?
    This is Exhibit A for that saying. What a buncha malarkey.

  191. Bree*

    Not sure the woman is still employed there but I hope at least she has a better manager! What a petty, lazy thing to do that singles out an employee unfairly. Letter writer shouldn’t be a manager if she doesn’t understand why this is insane.

  192. Michelle Jupiter*

    I just…. I’m Canadian. I’m a manager. We have the birthday thing here too.

    If this was one of my employees, I’d simply say “Do you want your day off on Feb. 28 or March 1?” I mean, WTF?

    Give this woman her damn birthday off. Have some morals.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’d just automatically give them the 1st off.

      Their setup shows that they get the “Next working day afterwards” off if the date falls on a non-working day. So that’s the 1st unless the 1st is a weekend, then it’s the next working day after the 1st! ITS SO CLEAR, HOW DO YOU MISS IT *CAPS LOCK ENGAGED*

      Then every 4 years, they get the 29th off of the following work day if it’s not a workday like this year. J-F-C the lunacy.

    2. TexasRose*

      Hmm – is it just me, or does it sound like the company (or its current, or its local managment) really doesn’t want to deal with this “birthday off” stuff, and has automated it to the point of farce:
      – payroll slips the gift card into the pay envelope
      – some subroutine generates a list of who is expected to take the day off, and automatically emails it out to whomever is concerned
      – some admin orders a cake periodically personalized from a computer-generated list
      – but whoever set up the processes initially did NOT think of the case of the leap year (extra calendar day) birthday
      In case of wonky processes like this, I always assume incompetence rather than malice in the initial set up.
      Not changing it though: there’s a cynical disregard for the affected individual here that’s just WRONG. I mean, really – maybe they couldn’t get them a gift card FROM THE COMPANY without a lot of hoopla – but seriously, how hard could it be to for the manager to tell the affected individual to take the day off quietly? (I wonder how rigid the company is in regards to other petty matters?)

      1. Candi*

        I don’t know if the grandboss’ (LW’s boss) reaction is incompetence or what, since I suspect LW wasn’t honest in framing the case of Leap Year Lady’s complaint.

        But LW’s update absolutely moved her over to malice between blaming the “issue” on the worker and her “it’s legal” nonsense. Legal is the LOWEST bar a functioning business can meet.

  193. Pampaloon*

    This is so ridiculous that I wonder if the LW possibly made the whole thing up. Nobody could actually stand by this practice with a straight face.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Considering the awful things we hear about around here and the things I’ve seen firsthand, never underestimate how awfully short sighted humans can be when they are in tunnel vision mode.

  194. Rabbit Rabbit*

    This probably violates some AAM policy but I really wish we could find a way to make this go viral and find the poor woman/employee and tell her we are all rooting for her.

  195. Erin*

    What increases the craziness of this, is that every other employee gets an exception if their birthday doesn’t fall on a workday except this one.

    1. Longtime Listener First Time Poster*

      I am absolutely flabbergasted. I read this column often, but have never felt compelled to comment before.

      The OP is being ridiculous.

  196. Zoro*

    Gosh! I’m still SMH… OP your policy is rigid and your thinking is so off, I can’t even comprehend. You belong on the list of the worst bosses. You lack emotional intelligence, specifically empathy. Put yourself in her shoes. You are basically saying that her birthday is not important, doesn’t exist, and policy is super important even though it is clearly making someone feel less than another employee due to no fault of her own. This kills morale. You are missing the human aspect. Treat people equally, based on what is human and what is right to do, not policy.

  197. Linda Evangelista*

    Wow, I managed to miss the update the first time. Man, I would HATE if my boss was this much of an asshole.

  198. Erik*

    I can’t read all 655 comments; apologies if I’m redundant.
    But I absolutely have to say: OP is violating their own stated policies here. The policy as stated is:
    “There is no changing the date. They must take their actual birthday or the first working day back (in case of a weekend or holiday). ”
    The employee is entitled to get the first working day on or after her birthday off. By corporate policy. The fact that her birthday is between February 28 & March 1 and does not appear on the calendar every year is irrelevant – she still has a birthday. She is entitled to the first business day on or after the birthday off, as corporate policy says.

  199. Gretchen*

    First, how sad for your employee. My dad is a Leap Year baby and we always celebrated on March 1st. On the actual leap year, we have a party for him.

    Second, I wouldn’t brag on how specific religions are banned in Canada. No freedom of religion there?

    1. Martine*

      Huh? Firstly the Jehovahs Witnesses are not banned in Canada. Secondly, the OP doesn’t live or work in Canada. So I’m not sure why you are talking about them being banned in Canada..?

  200. Another Sarah*

    The thing that shocks me most (about the update and this post) is the lack of either reading comprehension skills and/or geographical knowledge of the commenters. The letter writer is NOT located in Canada. They were clear about that. Yet many commenters are going on about Jehovah’s Witnesses being banned in Canada. Even after other commenters post trying explaining (again) that the letter writer is NOT located in Canada, it goes on. It makes me shake my head. I don’t understand why people think that.

  201. CS*

    This is a bizarre and baffling way to treat a good employee. Or anyone, for that matter.

    Also I would like to say for the record that being a Jehova’s Witness is not “banned” in Canada. Whatever on earth that means.

  202. Llama Face!*

    In my imagination, this terrible manager’s poor employee already quit and in a small petty revenge dated her resignation for February 29th- on a non-leap year. (Assuming the OP has to enter the end of employment date electronically at some point)

  203. It's Me*

    Honestly, if they *really* want to stick to “It’s not her birthday,” then my follow-up question would be, “Okay, if she’s only *actually* had a birthday every four years, then are you saying that you believe you’re employing a minor full-time?”

  204. Quake Johnson*

    I got excited when I read the title, thinking he sent in an update where he finally gave in/saw the error of his ways, but then I remembered this is the actual leap year.

    At least she gets a long weekend to go with it.

  205. chickaletta*

    I’m going to take a wild guess that employee morale is actually not high at this company. LW sounds pretty blind to the birthday issue (seriously, who takes away someone’s day off and gift card over leap day? “grrrrr, no birthday for you!! grrrrr” ) so it’s very likely that he’s blind to other issues going on right under his nose as well.

  206. Nevyn*

    I love that he thought that his follow up somehow made the situation look better. Throwing words about like “mandatory” as if they would suddenly absolve him from his pettiness…


  207. Gregory*

    If he turns it around, he might realize he’s being ridiculous. If the employee only has a birthday every four years, and she was hired right out of college, then she’s probably turning 7 at the end of the month. A 7 year old can’t engage in a contract to get hired to do a job.

    Obviously, the company is profiting from child labor, and must suffer the consequences of its actions.

  208. It's Her Party and She'll Cry Unfairness If She Wants To*

    This is just…I mean…I….can’t. I just simply cannot.

    LW, this isn’t a pile on. The reason everyone is “jumping all over” this is because it is wrong to single out an employee to receive less than everyone else receives. It is wrong that not everyone at the company receives the same benefits annually. If you can’t give something to everyone (*cough* according to your own 3rd grade birthday rules *cough*) then nobody should receive it, simple as that. Take away all the other employees’ birthday benefits if you don’t want to give them to her, your choice, but you can’t not give her the same as everyone else.

  209. Deann*

    Perhaps the policy should be amended in the section where if your birthday falls on a weekend, holiday, or *leap year day* that you get the following day off. The fact that the OP is digging their heels on this shows just how petty they are. “We’re just going to pretend you weren’t born, hope you aren’t offended!” SMH

  210. VampyAnji*

    This manager and the company are out of their ever loving minds.

    Dearest manager, benefits should be given to ALL employees. And your morale, and heart, are as dry as desert sand.

    PS: I’m rooting for her, and hope she moves along.

  211. TMonster*

    By this logic, is she even legally old enough to work there? Are you employing a minor?
    This is one of the weirdest, stupidest, and most mean-spirited things I have ever read!

  212. L.T.*

    If this weren’t a reprint I would vote this boss for worst boss of 2020. This is discriminatory against her and dehumanizing because basically her coworkers get paid 4 times more in terms of time off and gift card for something she couldn’t control. And what would it cost the company to be more inclusive of her situation? In all, NOT THAT MUCH. It may be a minor perk (it’s JUST a gift card and a day off) but it’s a MINOR perk (it won’t bankrupt the company to include her every year).
    I hope she moved on.

  213. MJ*

    OP: You and your manager are being petty and obnoxious. You both would rather be ‘right’ than be decent human beings.

    You cannot have something that is mandatory (that’s obnoxious enough) but then don’t have it apply to everyone. When you do, it is NO longer mandatory. And really… it’s beyond all sense of logic to INSIST that the employee doesn’t have a birthday every year. A year’s journey around the sun = birthday.

    A decent manager – a decent human being – would have looked at the issue, and found a solution that gives the employee the same ‘benefit’. But you and your manager choose instead to double down on the ‘justification’ you are right. This tells us neither of you have the stuff managers are made of and you should not manage anyone.

    What do you have against the employee that you would go out of your way to treat them so appallingly?

  214. Brooklyn Nine-Niner*

    Dear G-d, this update reads like a crazy person, as if the OP was trying to convince herself she’s right and the employee (and Alison) are somehow wrong and is trying to convince Alison and the readers of that, too.

  215. Jeff*

    In addition to the general weirdness of the “No birthdays allowed for you, Leap Year Weirdo!” stubbornness – Of all the weird hills someone could choose to die on – Another thing bothered me about the update:

    I’m as atheist as they come, and a huge advocate for secular humanism in all things, but the LW’s reference to JWs as a cult and banned in Canada really rubs me the wrong way. Like, don’t get me wrong, I’d probably have a lot of philosophical differences with the average member of their church, and I absolutely do have a lot of criticisms of the organization itself and certain practices of theirs. But, as far as I’m aware, there’s no restrictions against the right of their members to practice their religion in Canada, nor are they deemed a cult of any sort. They’re a sect of Christianity, sure, but that’s a far cry from a cult, and the rather callous way that the LW refers to them is off-putting in a similar way to the stubborn weirdness around the birthdays.

    Something about that dismissive matter-of-fact “I’m right about this, and all other interpretations are therefore completely invalid”, y’know?

    1. Jeff*

      *I should note I refer to them being “deemed” a cult in terms of any official status. Individual people are free to call them a cult, per their free speech rights, as they feel the situation merits. I was referring to any sort of government-recognized legal sense.

    2. Candi*

      The LW said she’s not working in Canada. The JWs are perfectly legal in Canada.

      The JW Wikipedia article has a list of countries they’re banned in. A lot of people on the original update posting suggested Russia.

    3. ProductionGirl*

      Speaking as a Christian, only JWs consider themselves a sect of Christianity. In reality their doctrine has so many critical differences from Christianity (non-denominational, Lutherin, Pentecostal) that they are not seen as part of the same church. Just like Judaism and Christianity share the same God, but completely different theologies.

  216. SusanIvanova*

    This got posted on dreamwidth (the agonyaunt comm) and someone’s comment made me realize: this is a perfect example of Lawful Evil – sticking to the rules in the most evil way possible.

    1. Candi*

      A comment on the update called her Lawful Evil -and hoped she never played a paladin.

      For how bad that could be, check out the character Miko on The Order of the Stick webcomic. (Warning: it can take aaaaaaaaaages to update. Miko’s arc is finished, though.)

  217. CountryLass*

    Surely this would fall under some sort of discrimination? They are knowingly treating her differently based on her birthday.
    Maybe not LEGAL discrimination, but morally it is.

    I’d be curious to know how the manager would feel if his birthday was suddenly classed as not an actual day…

  218. allathian*

    I was hoping for an update rather than a revisit…
    But this is clearly unfair, and it could be argued as discrimination (one employee being treated differently based on something she can’t control, like her birthday). If the company can’t or won’t give the leap day person a day off every year, they really should not give it to anyone else either.

  219. Cleopatra*

    I wish the Leap Day birthday employee know that this post exists and that we all support them !!!!!

  220. QCI*

    Based on how strictly and precisely laid out this perk is, I would bet it’s in the employee contract, which means they are denying a contractually obligated benefit based on some criminally insane logic. I’ve seen lawyers take companies to court for less, and I would bet 99.99% of judges would call this open and shut in favor of leap year girl.

  221. Nicole*

    Dude, you and your manager are both assholes. I honestly cannot think of a more appropriate way to describe you.

  222. Ian*

    This employee should celebrate their birthday loudly and proudly in the office where everyone can know that she’s the only one that doesn’t get to mandatorily take the day off.

  223. FormerFirstTimer*

    I can’t imagine OP’s direct reports are very happy. Someone who is this rigid and defensive about something so illogical cannot be a good boss.

  224. MissaPie*

    I remember this one! What struck me about this story was the way OP was bizarrely missing the point and responding to criticism with complete non sequiturs… Alison says it’s demoralizing to skip the employee’s birthday when it makes no logical sense to do so, everyone chimes in to agree, and OP is like: “No no no, you don’t understand… we’re Canadian.” O.o
    I also remember some people in the comments saying OP sounded like a robot. I’m inclined to agree. Algorithm needs to be adjusted. Sorry if I’m being mean to OP, but this is how strange they sound!

  225. OTRex*

    Re: Leap Year Birthday – of course she should get a day off and a gift card! If this is a benefit that everyone else in the company is automatically entitled to then yes, if I were her, I would expect the same thing! That’s just nuts and even though the LW pointed out that she is young (which is to, I assume, imply that this employee is somehow acting whiny/entitled), this has NOTHING to do with it! The company is straight up not giving her a benefit that everyone else gets. Any reasonable person would make an exception for this and include the employee in the benefit.

  226. Caryn Z*

    Sorry OP you are RIDICULOUS. I don’t care if you are Canadian or American. I don’t care if it’s not against the law. It is mean and horrible to treat the employee this way. It is your company policy, not her out of boundary request. And yes she is missing out: no day off, no gift card, no recognition. And then you blame HER as if she is acting petulant? Wow wow.

  227. CMF*

    She was the first thing I thought of this morning! I wondered if she still got a day off since her birthday falls on a Saturday this year!

  228. anon4this*

    Sorry OP but from your own follow-up: ” Also, it is considered a cult here and is banned. No one who works here is a Jehovah’s Witness.”
    That’s really rude and unnecessary information to add. Most historians now believe ALL religions are cults, but that’s not relevant and it’s very offensive to a lot of people.
    I also reread both of your letters to AAM, and you sound off to me. Acting robotic about arbitrary rules and like you don’t have the discretion to solve this for an actual good employee is not a sign of a very good manager to me.

    1. Long Time Lurker, Infrequent Poster.*

      Either that or I read it as a non-native speaker of English. Might be wrong about that.

  229. agnes*

    That is just about the most ridiculous defense of a ridiculous position I have ever read in my life. I hope the employee sues your company for disparate treatment.

  230. Adam Klein*

    This sounds like an automation issue.

    My guess is that someone integrated the birthdays into the payroll/HR systems by comparing them to the current month (i.e. “Show me all employees with DOBs between the first day of this month and the last day of this month”) … which means your friend gets left out during non-leap years. They probably get pull the list for the cake from the HR system’s records.

    If the birthday in the system is non-critical (i.e. if it’s not used for tax purposes or anything else), they could probably just change her DOB in the system to 2/28. Or they could just remember to write her name on the damn cake and tell her to go home on her birthday.

  231. KitKat*

    Dear OP, fellow Canadian here, and you are kind of terrible. A trick of human time keeping does not mean you should ignore your employee’s birthday. You are their manager, they expressed to you that being treated differently is upsetting SO STOP TREATING THEM DIFFERENTLY.

    Honestly, how hard is it to talk to HR, declare the employee’s “birthday” as March 1, in non-leap years, for the purposes of the day off and gift card, and move on. Being a jerk about this is not a good look. In fact it definitely signals to your other employees that given the slightest loophole they can’t count on you or their company.

  232. Twix*

    If the employer thinks the employee only has birthdays on leap years, they should be charged with violating child labor laws.

  233. Nina Bee*

    LW is one of those annoying people that follow rules to a tee without thinking laterally about WHY the rule is in place. I hope that employee gets out of there before she goes crazy from the gaslighting going on.

  234. Former Employee*

    I couldn’t begin to read all of the comments, but someone mentioned that there may well be a legal issue in the sense that the employee is being paid less.

    While I’m not sure that it falls within the area of equal pay, it certainly appears to fall under the broader category of compensation. If one employee doesn’t get a benefit every other employee gets, I believe that is a legal issue. If every other employee gets 10 paid days off per year while this employee only gets 9 paid days off per year, it sounds like a potential legal problem for the employer.

    I believe the LW’s error is that because they aren’t required by law to give people their birthday as a paid holiday, they think it means they can give it to some and not others. What you can’t do in most places is discriminate.

  235. Shaking My Head On This One*

    I was going to wait for about 15 minutes so I could actually post this on February 29th and wish this neglected employee a happy birthday, but this truly steamed me up so much, I couldn’t wait.

    Seriously, she doesn’t get the benefits the other employees get simply because her true birth date happens only once every four years? That’s beyond absurd. Hopefully she’s got a new job and gets her celebratory day off on March 1 or February 28th on the years without a February 29th.

  236. Tracey*

    I love reading this column and I seldom comment but you are honestly a ridiculous manager. Your employee deserves the exact same perks as everyone else and should get a card and gift card, birthday day of her choice off and invited to share kn the birthday cake. I can’t believe you’re a manager with how you’re behaving. You literally think that because she’s born on leap year too bad? Honestly that’s ridiculous….I hope your employee leaves to where she is embraced and has a manager who has common sense and kindness

  237. Ren*

    She is receiving fewer days off and less financial compensation than all the other employees because of the day her birthday falls on; what is unclear to LW about this???

  238. foxinabox*

    Honestly I feel it’s just as weird that every employee is forced to take their birthday off as that OP doesn’t understand what birthdays are. Man I wish we could get an employee update….

  239. The Supreme Troll*

    OP, I’ m going to go ahead and display my trollness by asking that your company stick its “policy” where the sun don’t shine!

  240. Effective Immediately*

    I’m so confused: why is her birthday not treated with the same weekend/holiday rules? It’s extra insane because *there’s already a workaround for this* and I’m baffled why OP is being so intractable about it

  241. Terri*

    I’m Canadian, and I feel compelled to point out that it is not illegal to be a Jehovah’s Witness here and they are not widely considered a cult. That is crazy talk.

  242. Newbean*

    It is not a cult, and it is not banned in Canada. If you are living in Russia then that is different, it is banned there.

  243. RainbowFartingUnicorn*

    I just thought about this, too, with it being a leap year.

    My $0.02, if the employer wanted to be equally petty, then you would only get the paid day off and gift card if your birthday fell during the workweek. Does it fall on the weekend? Too bad. Then see how many people complain.

    The fact that if your birthday falls on a weekend you get the next work day and the gift card is demonstrably different treatment, since the fair thing to do would be to treat a leap-year birthday the same way they treat a weekend birthday.

  244. TeapotNinja*

    I have an overwhelming urge to hack into the HR system of this company and change the OP’s birthday to 2/29.

    Or 3/32.

    This is not advice / incitement to do anything illegal.

  245. Avangelis*

    This is why you cant be loyal to a company anymore these days

    OP-This woman works for you. At least you can acknowledge her birthday. Is that too hard?Are you losing that much money from this,?

    How dare you treat her like this. Give the woman the next working business day off. You sound like Scrooge McDuck at the top of your gold tower of coins. How dare you OP. You are what is wrong with corporate america.

  246. Long Time Lurker, Infrequent Poster.*

    I think I understand why the asker reiterated and doubled down; the implication is thar “I asked about how I can inform this employee that her request is against the rules, not comments about the rules itself.”

    Therefore Asker thinks the concerns are irrelevant to the question at hand and is reiterating the question.

    Also yes, I am glad my current workplace isn’f that much of a stickler for the rules.

Comments are closed.