Businesses in Ireland rack up $246 million over the course of 29th FebruaryGoogle Images

Irish businesses cashed in this Leap Year, with the extra hours of essentially “free” labor earning them some €184m over the course of Leap Day (February 29), the Evening Herald reports.

Though for workers on hourly rates their income was added to as normal, those on annual salaries will not benefit whatsoever from the extra hours clocked up, instead putting in an extra day free of charge.

This is not the first time the issue has been raised, with Macdara Doyle of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions saying his organization had first highlighted the anomaly in 2008, the last time a day was added.

“The situation has not changed for salaried workers,” he said “but with lack of demand crippling the economy, perhaps an end-of-month contribution from employers might help boost spend in the domestic economy.”

Jim Power, chief economist with financial services outfit Friends First, took a different view on the matter, saying salaried employees should feel the “free” day is a sacrifice worth making, with the Irish economy on its knees.

“Employers need everything they can get at this juncture, given the tough economic climate,” he said. “Workers should regard this as a small sacrifice to make in order to help keep businesses trading.”