A quirk that city officials say involves leap years is giving city employees an extra paycheck this year in Ocean Springs, but the workers won’t notice.
When the Board of Aldermen met to approve the budget last week, they listed the extra paycheck as a sort of bonus for employees. Technically, all city employees will get a 27th paycheck this budget year, which ends Sept. 30, when they are supposed to get 26, like all the other years.
It won’t feel like a bonus, however, City Clerk Shelly Ferguson said, “because they get paid every two weeks. They worked two weeks and will get paid for two weeks.”
It’s just a quirk of the calendar, and it took Ferguson five hours to figure it out when they first realized something wasn’t right. She said a fellow employee working on the budget remarked: “It’s like I’m off a whole payroll.”
Somehow, several consecutive leap years create the quirk for the city’s pay system and the last two weeks of September is either a 27th check or employees go unpaid until October, when the new budget year begins. Leap years happen every four years.
The last time it happened was in the early 2000s and the next time, she believes, will be in 2028.
One two-week payroll usually costs the city $350,000 and the city hadn’t budgeted for this quirk, so there was a reason to sweat earlier in the year.
The cost worked out be be closer to $100,000 for several reasons, she said, including the fact that insurance and other things the city matches in employee checks wouldn’t have to be paid.