Pay Schedule Frequencies

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The number of pay periods in a year depends on which payroll schedule your company uses. Federal and state laws come into play when determining pay periods. Although the IRS does not regulate the frequency of pay periods, most states do. In California, for instance, the frequency of employee pay is regulated according to the calendar date, with different rules that apply to different industries. A good understanding of pay periods is essential to make sure employees are properly paid, and to keep your business operating smoothly. Here we cover the basics of pay periods, how different types operate, and how to deal with potential payroll hurdles. List of employers authorized to pay manual employees in New York State on a biweekly basis pursuant to New York State Labor Law Section 191.1a.

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That may result in some complaints, but most such complaints go away once the check is issued. Minimize complaints by giving as much advance notice as possible and advising employees to carefully plan for the transition. A payroll schedule determines the length of your pay period and how often you pay your employees. The most common payroll schedules are weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, and monthly. Your payroll schedule is dependent upon a few factors, including state laws and regulations.

Please note that some processing of your personal data may not require your consent, but you have a right to object to such processing. You can change your preferences at any time by returning to this site or by visiting our privacy policy. The only exceptions are South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama. These three states don’t have specified payroll frequencies, so how often you pay your workers is up to you. Pay frequency defined directly on a payroll will override the company’s default pay frequency.

What payroll schedule is right for your business?

This will also be displayed in calendar format on the Overviewpage of the Payroll app. Pay periods define the number of days of work for which each employee is paid on each paycheck.

Pay frequency is an important decision that can have a big impact on your employee morale, costs, and compliance. If you’re looking for assistance in this strategic choice, an outsourced payroll provider like Complete Payroll Solutions can give you insight and guidance to help you decide. In addition, if you pay employees with a paper check, a less frequent payroll choice will also save you on the cost of shipping. Calculating overtime is even more difficult in an ~173 hour pay period due to the need to analyze each 40-hour work week separately.

How Many Pay Periods Are in a Year?

This choice can be made easier when you know the advantages and disadvantages to each pay schedule. Frequency of Pay.All employees will be paid on a bi-weekly basis, through direct deposit. Such advances to be available only if the vacation period is two weeks or greater. Employees are only paid twice each month on a semimonthly payroll schedule.

Only exempt employees should be paid on a semi-monthly basis. However, there may be limited exceptions to this rule, such as employees of a hospital. You should always refer to the governing state law when making your decision.

Biweekly payroll

This payroll schedule requires you to pay employees consistently 24 times per year. To summarize, there is no specific pay period used by a majority of private establishments. The biweekly pay period is the most common, followed next by weekly, then semimonthly, then monthly.

Pay Schedule Frequencies

In some cases, you may opt to pay your workers just once a month like the first day or the last day. While these can make it less burdensome on you, it can make it challenging for employees to plan and budget when they only receive one paycheck a month. Earlier this year, we featured a variety of articles about pay frequency in New York for different worker classification and pay day requirements, according to New York State Labor Law. You can learn about the laws regarding paying and classifying executive workers, manual workers, and commissioned salespeople. Employer saves the most time and money on payroll processing because they only have to do it once each month. Picking a payroll frequency is a big decision, and you can benefit from the assistance of knowledgeable, professional payroll teams. That’s why small and medium businesses turn to Horizon Payroll for their payroll requirements.

How Long Is a Pay Period?

With a semimonthly pay frequency, you pay employees on specific dates, but the days might differ. For example, you can pay an employee on the 15th and 30th of each month. For example, a company that employs mostly hourly workers might find it beneficial to have a week-long pay period. Weekly payments are easier for financial planning and make employees happier by giving them access to more readily available cash flows. Depending on how the employer has set up payroll, and when the last pay period falls, some years have an extra pay period. This is called a ”pay period leap year,” a phenomenon that only affects salaried employees who are paid on a biweekly basis, resulting in a 27th pay period in the year. This is the lowest cost option for employers, as workers are paid at the end of the month.

If you select this option, your employees will receive their paychecks every other week on a day of the week you specify . This consistency is more likely to appeal to your employees than a monthly or semi-monthly cycle. However, two months out of the year your employees will have three paydays that fall within one calendar month. If your employees have voluntary benefit or healthcare deductions, you will need to decide how to handle these deductions on that third pay cycle in these months. Most commonly, all benefit deductions are made on the first two pay cycles and cease for the third one. Handling, the deductions this way ensures the proper amount of funds are withheld for the benefit premiums each month and your employees get a little “extra” on that third check of the month.

Pay frequency requirements by state determine what pay frequencies you can and can’t use. For example, Arizona requires that employers pay employees two or more days per month, not more than 16 days apart. One of the most common questions we get from new clients just starting to hire employees is “How often should I pay my employees? ” The answer to this question depends on several factors that are specific to YOUR business. Every business operates differently and the frequency with which you choose to pay your employees is no exception.

  • To do this, take the salary total and divide it by 27 (for bi-weekly) or 53 .
  • Today’s digital landscape means limitless possibilities, and also complex security risks and threats.
  • There is no federal legislation that requires you to pay employees regularly.
  • A monthly pay schedule requires you to pay employees once per month, usually at the end of the month, or 12 times per year.
  • Pay frequency defined directly on a payroll will override the company’s default pay frequency.

4About 56 percent of respondents reported hours and earnings data in February 2020. The distribution of lengths of pay period can also be examined by size and by industry. I’m passionate about helping small businesses understand how awesome outsourcing your payroll and HCM systems can be. This article will define the four different payroll periods, their pros and cons, and which one best fits your industry. Solutions PayrollPayroll tax filing, automated and integrated processing, paperless reporting and more. But what you really need to pay attention to is state pay day laws. We have the best products, from payroll software to HR compliance and all points in between.


When you outsource payroll services or utilize payroll software, your expenses will depend heavily on the number of employees you have and the type of solutions you require. Many payroll service providers charge a monthly fee plus an additional fee for every payment they process.

What is semi monthly payroll schedule?

A semi-monthly pay schedule means pay checks are distributed two times a month, usually on fixed dates such as the 1st and 15th, or the 15th and 30th. However, they may not necessarily fall on the same day of the week, and you would end up paying your employees 24 times in a year instead of 26.

The weighted length-of-pay-period data result in estimates of the percentage of private establishments operating under each length of pay period in the United States. In February 2020, biweekly was the most common length of pay period, with an estimated 43.0 percent of U.S. private establishments paying their employees every 2 weeks. Weekly pay periods were almost as common, with 33.3 percent of private establishments paying employees each week. Table 1 and Chart 1 show the February 2020 distribution of private establishments operating under each length of pay period. Not to be confused with biweekly, where paydays happen every two weeks, is semi monthly. Paydays happen twice per month with this frequency, which equates to 24 paychecks a year.

Due to the relatively large time gap between payrolls, these tend to be more common for high-paying salaried positions like C-suite executives in the technology and financial sectors. Employees paid on yearly salaries can be paid monthly in Utah. A monthly pay schedule requires you to pay employees once per month, usually at the end of the month, or 12 times per year. It’s important to note that some states require employers to pay employees more frequently. Semimonthly payroll may not work well for hourly employees who earn overtime or have irregular hours each week.

Pay Schedule Frequencies

Calculating overtime is difficult in an ~86 hour pay period due to the need to analyze each 40-hour work week separately. From your employee’s perspective, they’re almost always going to want to get paid more frequently. It comes down to cash flow, just as you as a business owner would prefer to get paid sooner and more frequently after performing work for your clients. For example, an organization that employers a lot of independent contractors may decide a monthly schedule works best for its team.