Better for your business: Biweekly vs. Monthly Payroll: Quickbooks

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No doubt, QuickBooks is an exceptional accounting and bookkeeping software made possible by Intuit. This software possess all functionalities that every business regardless of the size and type requires. One of the most important functions that is offered by QuickBooks is payroll. But it has always been a debatable topic to decide whether Weekly Payroll is better or Monthly Payroll is better. To help the users in this confusion, we have tried to project the purposes of both payroll methods and unbiased pros and cons with the help of this article. Thus read the article till the end, or for any further information, you can make a call at our toll-free number.

Empowering employees is a symbol of growth, but at the same time it comes with important decisions and responsibilities, including payroll. Once the user sort out the legal requirements, you’re left with the settlement of how often to run payroll. Weekly, biweekly, and monthly payroll are the most common choices with some pros and cons of each to consider before choosing. So, without further delay, let us begin with the discussion.

Understand Weekly Payroll

Sending out weekly pay cheques follows in processing payroll 52 times per year and incurring the relevant service fees each week, whether you run payroll in-house or outsource it. Employees earn their pay-cheques on the same day each week, usually on Friday, for the salaries, hourly, and/or overtime pay they received through the seven-day span the cheque covers.

Pros of Weekly Payroll

  • A large number of employees enjoy getting paid every week, and also it keeps a patterned movement of money reaching into their bank accounts that can make it easier to budget household finances. In situations when an hourly employee works overtime, they are paid for those extra hours sooner preferably than having to pause two weeks or even till the end of the month to get the extra money. That can be particularly helpful if the weekly schedule alters significantly.
  • For instance, if an employee manages to reach 65 hours one week and only 25 hours the next week, this method is helpful to have that extra overtime pay way before heading into the lighter schedule week. If the user recommend weekly payroll, then this could be considered as high employee happiness.
  • On the user’s end, calculating overtime is an honest process, especially when there is hourly employees on staff. Since the pay period tallies with the work week, it becomes much easier to calculate any additional pay. With monthly pay periods, the first and last week of the month is typically partial weeks, which can hamper the calculations. Weekly pay periods also make it smoother to comprehend when timecards or time reports are payable.
  • In this method, the payable date remains the same every week as the user will run payroll on the same day each week. Whereas, on a monthly inventory, the cut-off for turning in pay may vary from one month to the next depending on end of the month.

Cons of Weekly Payroll

  • As it is rightly said, everything comes with its pros and cons, and talking about weekly pay, there are certain cons of this as well. One of the biggest disadvantages of weekly payroll for the employer is the time plus cost. Since the employer is following weekly payroll, that can take the employer away from other duties, or it indicates the staff member appointed to handle payroll gets drawn away from other duties. If someone is picked to do payroll, they get paid each time it’s run, improving the overhead.
  • Distributing pay more often might at times come at a cost if you issue conventional paper cheques, wasting money on the cheque forms and the ink to print them. If the user makes use of direct deposit, he/she might have to pay a small fee per deposit depending on the service that is practiced. Paying those fees every week adds up to the total cost. That fees can be cut off in half by preferring biweekly or monthly pay periods.

Understand Bi-weekly Payroll

When the user runs payroll every other week that results into 26 pay times per year, as maximum months have two paydays, but some months have three. Similar to weekly pay period structure, the bi-weekly structure means that the employees will get paid on the corresponding day of the week each time, but only all another week.

Thus, the employer might pay them all Friday, just for an example. The biweekly option is a bit different than paying employees semimonthly, where they always get just two paycheques per month, for a total of 24 pay periods. In general, a semimonthly plan typically pays employees on the 15th and the last day of the month rather than paying every another week.

Pros of Biweekly Payroll

  • Biweekly payroll brings in certain pros, a few of which are mentioned in this paragraph. Balanced to a weekly payroll schedule, bi-weekly payroll frees the employer a notable amount of time since they simply have to run it every other week. This method saves money on direct deposits and cutting cheques, since these tasks are done half as many times per year. Running payroll less frequently also signifies less risk of error.
  • Running payroll weekly means that the employer has more possibilities to include human error into the equation. Not only this, the biweekly payroll also adjusts well with the work weeks, which makes it easy to add overtime for the two weeks that fall into each pay period.

Cons of Biweekly Payroll

  • Talking about the disadvantage, biweekly payroll adjusts the monthly expenses with the pay periods. This means that when the employer runs payroll monthly, it becomes easy for him to determine monthly thoughts. Whereas with weekly and biweekly payroll, the first and last paydays of each month often actually span two separate months, which creates disturbance.
  • The first pay cheque in March may include a few days from February, while the last pay cheque might cover a few days of April. (For example, adding some complexity to concluding calculations.)

You may also read: Intuit Payroll: QuickBooks Smarter Payroll & E-Taxes

Understand Monthly Payroll

Now comes the monthly payroll, and if the employer uses monthly payroll, then payroll is run only once a month and the employees solely receive one paycheque per month that makes a total of 12 cheques per year. Also, the precise date gets altered. For instance, the user runs a payroll each month on the 20th. Monthly payroll isn’t as prevalent anymore.

Employers don’t receive any huge benefits for only running payroll once per month, and it’s offensive with employees as it might create complications in budgeting.

Pros of Monthly Payroll

One of the most significant fact about monthly payroll is that, it is easy to handle and the employer is required to invest his time in payroll only once per monthly. Not only this, but also it adjusts well with all the payroll deductions that are required, such as taxes, Canada Pension Plan contributions, as well as Employment Insurance premiums. This would otherwise be divided over various cheques per month, whereas with the help of monthly payroll, the employer can use the full amount out of the single cheque for each of the employee.

Cons of Monthly Payroll

  • The monthly payroll lacks behind as there are certain regions that wish to pay their employees more frequently. In British Columbia, as per the rules the companies have to pay their employees at least double per month. This suggests that the employer needs to at least opt for a semimonthly pay period, which means to pay the employees twice per month, which is in general on the 15th and the last day of the month. There are many other laws for salaried versus hourly employees in other regions. Such as in Saskatchewan, if the employers employ monthly salaried employees, then they can pay them on a monthly basis, however, for all other employees, paying at least semi monthly is mandatory.
  • The issue with monthly payroll doesn’t end over here, it adds up to employee redemption. Most of the times, employees find it difficult to stretch their money out over the complete month. Most bills get due on a monthly basis, for which the employees should be ready to pay their bills when they get their pay cheque and budget the rest for the other expenses, but this sounds too theoretical. In actual, it becomes challenging for the employees to proportion their money for the entire month, especially for the ones who live pay cheque to pay cheque. If the employee faces trouble establishing a monthly budget routine, they might find it difficult to manage until they are paid again, which piles up to their difficulties.

Deciding Between Payroll Options

As stated before, deciding between the two has always been confusing for the employers. But before jumping on to any conclusion, the user should make note of the payroll ordinances in that particular region where they have set up their company. If the employer is situated in a region that demands two pay periods per month, then in that case monthly payroll might not be a better option. Once the employer gets familiarize with the laws, the user can measure the pros and cons of the particular events. Moreover, a frequent payroll period assists the employees avoid having “more month at the end of the money” as the saying goes.

Staring at the costs and time involved in many payroll options can help you pick what’s best for you. A biweekly pay structure is oftentimes a good balance amid keeping employees happy and balancing your costs without scoring to your bookkeeping or financial burden.

Read Also: How to Fix QuickBooks runtime problems?

Changing Your Payroll Frequency

If the user have employees but are considering payroll frequency, then take some time to handle the change. The move may turn the math. If you’re using payroll software, then the program controls the calculation changes for the employer that is one of the significant perks of using computerized payroll systems. Likewise, in case of outsourcing payroll, the vendor would manage the changes in calculations. The user is required to keep in mind that he/she might have to pay more, if he/she boosts the frequency of payroll as the provider may charge for every run.

Prepare the employees for any adjustments in payroll. It is a sensible idea to let the employees know at least a month in advance, about the various aspects. In case the employee is moving to a shorter pay periods, such as shifting from monthly to biweekly, the employees are expected to acknowledge the change and won’t need a long lead time before the switch. Whereas, moving from paying weekly to biweekly, requires presenting the employees ample notice so that they’re qualified to go longer within paycheques.

At the time of deciding on the frequency of pay periods, the employer eventually should attempt to gain a balance among a cost-effective solution for employer and a schedule, which would keep the workforce comfortable. Considering the pros and cons of various regularities would help the employer to find that balance and finding the right payroll solutions makes it simpler to process payroll no matter how frequently it is done.

Reference Site: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/payroll/weekly-biweekly-or-monthly-payroll/

Conclusive words

Did you know you can pay employees in QuickBooks? Simply Add Payroll today. However, in case any of your queries remained unanswered, then feel free to seek help and guidance from our QuickBooks payroll customer service team by calling them on their toll-free number.

They are Intuit Certified ProAdvisor and industries best accounting experts, they provide round the clock service. We will love to be your support partner!

Biweekly vs. Monthly Payroll: What You Need to Know

There are a few steps that go into getting payroll up and running for your small business. One of those important steps requires you to choose a payroll schedule that will determine when your employees will get paid.

While there is no typical payroll schedule because each business and state is different, there are four main payroll schedules: weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, and monthly payroll. Whether you get to choose your payroll schedule or the state decides for you, you’ll want to fully understand how the pay period will work for your business and employees. In this post, we are breaking down the key things you need to know about the differences between biweekly and monthly payroll.

Understanding Biweekly Payroll

Out of the four schedules, biweekly is one of the most common payroll schedules. Under a biweekly schedule, employees receive 26 paychecks per year, and in most cases, they are paid twice a month. It’s important to note there are a few months where employees will receive three checks when following this type of schedule. The reason why this is such a common schedule to follow is that it’s easy for both employers and employees to plan around. A biweekly pay period means employees are paid on the same day of the week, every other week, with Friday being a typical payday. This structure helps employees know exactly when they will be paid, compared to a semi-monthly schedule when payday tends to vary.

As a small business owner, biweekly payroll may be favored over weekly payroll because it results in less time processing payroll each month. With that extra time, you can focus on other areas of your business instead of setting aside time for payroll every week.

Understanding Monthly Payroll

While monthly payroll isn’t as common, it may be the schedule you need to implement at your business. Once a month, on the same day each month, your employees will receive a paycheck. The nice part about monthly payroll is it requires little work since you’re only processing payroll once a month. Even though it’s less time throughout the month, you can save yourself headaches by staying organized and keeping track of time cards. A lot can happen in a month and it may be easy to forget who took a vacation day or sick time. While monthly payroll is easy for business owners, it’s not the ideal payment method for employees because it can make budgeting much harder when they only receive one check a month.

Bottom Line

Remember that payroll is something that will vary by business, and while there are four schedules to use, there is no typical payroll schedule for all small businesses. It’s important to understand the pros and cons and differences between payroll schedules if you get to choose the schedule for your small business. Always remember to check in with your state requirements to keep your business compliant and employees paid accurately and on time. If managing payroll ever becomes too much, an online payroll provider or accountant can help you out. 

Bimonthly vs. Biweekly Pay: Advantages and Disadvantages

Many businesses decide on a particular period that determines how often they pay their employees throughout the year. As a business owner, it’s important to reconsider your approach regarding your pay schedule. Keep in mind that the approach that works for one business and its employees may not work for another. Understanding a biweekly pay schedule versus a bimonthly pay schedule, for example, can help you determine which provides you with the most benefits. In this article, we define biweekly pay, bimonthly pay and explain the pros and cons of both pay schedules.

What is biweekly pay?

Biweekly pay periods refer to schedules wherein a business delivers checks to its employees on the same day every other week. Though most businesses pay their employees on Friday, the exact day varies by employer and their particular preferences or the nature of their business. When businesses run on a biweekly pay schedule, they have 26 pay periods per year. While most months have two pay periods, two months of the year feature three pay periods.

Which pay schedule is more common?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 data, 42.2% of U.S. private establishments run on a biweekly pay schedule. In comparison, 18.6% of private establishments run on a semimonthly or bimonthly pay period. It’s also worth noting that the use of the most common pay period, in this case, biweekly pay, tends to rise with the size of an establishment.

What is bimonthly pay?

Bimonthly pay typically refers to a pay schedule wherein employees get paychecks twice per month. Also known as a semimonthly pay period, a bimonthly pay period results in 24 pay periods per year.

With this type of payroll, employees get paid on specific dates, which results in pay processing on different days of the week. In other words, you can get paid on a Friday and then a Wednesday. Typically, pay dates for this schedule are approximately 15 days apart. For example, employees can get paid on the first day of the month and then again on the 15th of the month.

How do wages differ with a biweekly or bimonthly pay schedule?

The amount of money an employee receives per paycheck may fluctuate depending on their employer’s pay schedule. However, they ultimately get paid the same amount in a given year. For example, let’s say you make $40,000 per year. To determine how much you get paid each pay period, you can divide your wages by the number of pay periods your employer offers. If you get paid biweekly, you can divide $40,000 by 26 pay periods to get approximately $1,538 in gross wages every other week. If you get paid bimonthly or semimonthly, you’d receive approximately $1,667 in gross wages. Though these amounts differ, you end up receiving the same amount of money by the end of the year. You also have to pay the same amount of taxes no matter what pay schedule you’re following.

Biweekly vs. bimonthly pay

Even if you have a pay schedule you’re accustomed to, you can always change it to fit your particular needs. Keep in mind that regardless of the pay schedule you choose, employees get paid the same amount each year. To help you determine which to follow, consider the following pros and cons for both a biweekly and bimonthly pay schedule:

Biweekly pay schedule advantages

Understanding the advantages that come with a biweekly pay schedule can help you discern which frequency is best for your business and your employees. Consider these advantages that a biweekly pay schedule presents:

  • Greater consistency: With a biweekly pay schedule, employees know they have paychecks coming on the same day every other week. With a semimonthly pay schedule, employees may get paid on the same dates every month, but these dates may land on different days of the week. Having consistency in this regard can help employees better manage their finances.
  • More paychecks: Though you have smaller paychecks each pay period compared to a bimonthly or semimonthly pay schedule, biweekly pay equates to more paydays and therefore, two “bonus” paychecks. Even though you make the same amount of money regardless of your pay frequency, a biweekly pay schedule makes it easier to reduce debt or save more money in the months you receive an additional paycheck.
  • Easy to calculate overtime: While salaried employees are exempt from collecting overtime, hourly employees are not. Running on a biweekly pay schedule makes it easier to calculate overtime pay compared to businesses running on a bimonthly pay schedule. For example, if an employee’s extra hours fall between two different semimonthly pay periods, you need to make adjustments to account for this which can result in confusion for the person handling payroll.

Bimonthly pay schedule advantages

Just as with a biweekly pay schedule, a bimonthly pay schedule also comes with several advantages for both employees and employers. Here’s a look at the benefits a biweekly pay schedule may provide both parties:

  • Larger paychecks: Though you only get paid twice per month, a bimonthly pay schedule yields larger paychecks. Keep in mind that even though your paychecks may be larger, you paid the same amount at the end of the year no matter your pay frequency.
  • Less processing time: Compared to a biweekly pay schedule, operating on a bimonthly frequency slightly reduces the amount of time spent on payroll processing. Essentially, you run payroll less often which results in less work for the person in charge of your company’s payroll. This makes it easier to budget your payroll and can help reduce the likelihood of errors.
  • Managing deductions: Since benefits typically run on a monthly basis, a semimonthly pay frequency makes benefits such as healthcare deductions easier to manage. In comparison, running on a biweekly pay frequency means you have to take care of these deductions using the total amount of annual pay periods.

Biweekly pay schedule disadvantages

To get a better idea of what a biweekly pay schedule entails, it’s important to consider any drawbacks it presents in addition to its advantages. Here are the disadvantages of a biweekly pay schedule:

  • Complicated bookkeeping: When you have 26 pay periods per year, it means you have two months that feature three pay periods as opposed to two. When this happens, it complicates bookkeeping and makes it harder to project your future cash flow. Essentially, your payroll debits may not always align with your payroll credits on your balance sheet. It also means you need to prepare for paying your employees the two months that feature a third paycheck.
  • Smaller paychecks: Since payroll on a biweekly pay schedule processes more frequently than it does on a bimonthly pay schedule, these paychecks are smaller. However, employees receive two extra paychecks per year to make up for it.
  • Harder to budget: Since you get two extra paychecks on a biweekly pay schedule, it can make it harder to budget if the business doesn’t prepare for the months that result in three paychecks. Businesses who operate on this pay frequency need to verify that they have enough money in their payroll account to cover these expenses.
  • Potentially higher costs: Depending on the payroll provider, a business may incur additional charges for each payroll run. This can result in higher annual costs for businesses that operate on a biweekly pay frequency rather than a bimonthly pay frequency. To avoid this, it’s important to select a payroll provider that allows unlimited payroll runs regardless of how often paychecks are dispersed.

Bimonthly pay schedule disadvantages

While a bimonthly pay schedule comes with several advantages, it also comes with many disadvantages for both employees and employers. Here are some of the cons that come from this type of pay schedule:

  • Difficult to calculate for hourly employees: Calculating pay for hourly employees comes with some difficulty—especially if they earn overtime pay. To avoid this, you can offer semimonthly pay to salaried employees and biweekly pay for hourly workers, though running on two different pay schedules can make it harder for the human resources department to handle.
  • Lack of consistency: With a bimonthly pay schedule, the day employees get paid differs each pay period. This makes it hard for employees to keep track of when they get paid. It can also cause a hindrance to the person running payroll and cause them to lose track of which day to process the payroll.
  • Difficult to calculate for holidays and weekends: If a payday falls on a holiday or on the weekend, the human resources department needs to pay employees in advance or delay their paychecks after the weekend or the holiday. This adds another element to their payroll processing duties and may cause confusion for both the payroll department and the employees themselves.

What is Bi-weekly Pay? Bi-weekly vs Bi-monthly Pay

When you have employees, you have to run payroll so they can receive their wages.

Choosing a payment schedule can cause a lot of confusion. Your selection should suit your company’s budgeting, HR or administrator, and, of course, your employee.

Also, you need to follow the legal obligations of the state.

Bi-weekly pay is the most popular pay schedule among companies in the U.S. If you wonder how it works, just check out this article.

Table of Content

Check out these definitions before jumping to the main part.

  • Payroll: payroll is a list of employees with their calculated wages. Or, payroll can refer to the process of calculating wages
  • A check/paycheck: a check or paycheck is a document that instructs the bank to transfer an amount of money from one bank account to another one.
  • A pay date: a pay date is the date in a month that an employee is paid
  • An hourly employee: an hourly employee is paid according to hours they work over
  • A salaried employee: a salaried employee is paid based on an annual amount of money
  • A pay period/schedule: a pay period is a recurring schedule which determines how often you will pay your employees

What is bi-weekly pay?

Just like the name itself, bi-weekly means paying your employees every two weeks.

Frequently, a pay schedule/period will recur within a certain timeframe and won’t change until there is a new pay period.

How about the pay date?

You can choose any weekday to be a pay date. Once chosen, this day will be a set day. It can be Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.

For example, if you want to pay on Friday, then every other Friday in a month, you will pay for your employees.

Frequently, the pay date is 7 days after the end date of the work period.

Also, with this pay schedule, your employees will receive 365/14 = 26 (checks) per year. Because of this, every year, there are two months when you receive three checks.

How to calculate bi-weekly pay?

Actually, you just need two steps:

  • Step 1: Identify the gross annual salary
  • Step 2: Divide that number by 26

The number you get is the bi-weekly pay.

What is bi-monthly pay?

A bi-monthly or semi-monthly pay means paying twice a month. This pay schedule results in 12 * 2 = 24 (checks) during the year.

Frequently, the pay dates are 15 days apart. The two pad dates can be on the first and the 15th every month, however, you can freely choose your own schedule.

Which is better? Bi-weekly pay or bi-monthly pay?

Look at the two definitions, you might get confused:

“Are you paying every two weeks and paying twice a month the same?”

However, they are totally different and each has its own pros and cons. Let’s see which type will fit your organization.

Bi-weekly pay pros and cons

Pros

  • You have to pay less money per check than when paying on a bi-monthly basis
  • Your employees get paid often. This helps you to maintain employee engagement, boost work ethic and increase productivity in the workplace.
  • Reduce time spent on payroll processing. With hourly employees, you just need to pay according to the number of hours he has worked over the past two weeks.
  • Overtime work is easier to calculate. You just need to add the number of overtime hours to the paycheck.

Cons

  • Require 2 more payroll processing times than bi-monthly pay
  • Reach to 27 payroll processing times in lap years because it has 366 days instead of 365 days
  • Difficult to keep track of the paydays or paychecks. The paydays can fall on any two or three dates of a month.
  • The extra two paychecks can set your business back if you haven’t prepared for the additional paychecks two times in a year

Bi-monthly pay pros and cons

Pros:

  • Require 2 or 3 less payroll processing times than bi-weekly pay
  • No additional expenses because you will pay two times every month
  • Less suffering for employees to budget because paychecks arrive on the same date each month

Cons:

  • You have to pay more money per check than you have to when paying on a bi-weekly basis
  • Time-wasting on hourly payroll processing. Since some months have 31 days and some have 30 days, hourly employees sometimes can get paid for the different numbers of days.

How to choose the best pay schedule for your business?

Besides bi-weekly pay, there are some other types of pay schedules, which are:

  • Weekly pay: pay every week with 52 paychecks
  • Monthly pay: pay every month with 12 paychecks

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, bi-weekly is the most common pay period among companies nationally. The second most popular pay frequency is the weekly model. On the other hand, monthly pay models are the least implemented.

Choosing a pay period is one of the first steps that all companies take when beginning to hire the first employee to work for them.

Before choosing a pay schedule, you should consider these following factors:

Number of employees

As for small businesses, being clear about the pay schedule is very important. Because, if the money is tight, you really need to know when you have to pay for your employee.

However, if you have a small number of employees, there will be not many differences among selections.

On the other hand, if you have a large employee number, you might want to project the financial pressure coming along with each payroll schedule.

Costs and time

When you run your payroll more frequently, you might have to pay more money with hidden fees.

If your payroll software provider allows you to run unlimited payrolls without paying extra fees then cost might not be a factor. However, if the provider charges per payroll run, then you probably choose the most optimized pay schedule.

Also, remember to make sure the time you spent on paying your employees, you will not want it to take like forever.

Hourly vs salary employees

When it comes to hourly employees, let’s be honest, they will love bi-weekly pay, because if predictable, clear and consistent. On the other hand, salaried workers will like bi-monthly pay because they are exempt from overtime.

Thus, some companies have more than one pay period. They use the bi-monthly pay model for owners or managers and bi-weekly pay for hourly employees.

Conclusion

The long-standing businesses might also want to change their pay period due to the conditions change or when their employees request for a pay period reconsideration.

From the point of view of an employee, knowing exactly when you will be paid is critical for managing the budget.

Payroll can be your business’s largest expense, so choose a pay schedule wisely!

The Business Owner’s Guide To Biweekly And Semi-Monthly Payroll

You value your employees, and you’re more than happy to compensate them for the effort and elbow grease they sink into your business. But, you’ll just say it: running payroll still isn’t your favorite activity.

You got into business ownership to pursue your passion, and not to crunch numbers and pore over legal requirements. In fact, a reported 40% of small business owners say that bookkeeping is the worst part of running a small business.

Much of that is owed to the fact that there’s a lot to figure out when it comes to managing the financial aspects of paying your employees. You need to navigate payroll taxes. You need to make sure you’re complying with overtime requirements. And, you need to figure out the best payroll schedule for your business.

Let’s focus on that last piece. You’ve probably heard terms like biweekly pay or semi-monthly pay tossed around. But, what do these actually mean? And, how should you go about deciding on your own payroll frequency without tearing your hair out?

You’re in luck. This article answers some common questions that you (and your employees) might have about payroll schedules.

What Is Biweekly Pay?

Biweekly pay is the most common option for pay periods, with 36.5% of private U.S. businesses paying their employees on this schedule.

When your employees are getting paid biweekly, that means that payday occurs once every two weeks, and typically on the same day of the week (Friday is the most common payday). So, if you paid your employees biweekly, they’d receive their paychecks every other Friday.

Because of this, it’s important to note that there will be some months where you’ll actually be required to issue three paychecks—depending on how the calendar shakes out.

How Does Biweekly Pay Work?

Fortunately, a biweekly pay schedule is pretty simple. As the business owner, you would pick a designated payday, and then ensure that your employees get their paychecks on that specific day every two weeks.

How Many Biweekly Paychecks In A Year?

Your employees have expenses and need to plan out their own budgets, so you can’t blame them for wondering how many biweekly pay periods there are in a year.

Fortunately, this is helpful information for you to have too. With payroll likely being one of your largest expenses, you want to know how many times each year you’ll need to cut those checks so that you can plan out your cash flow accordingly.

With a biweekly pay schedule, employees will receive 26 paychecks each year, regardless of what year it is. The math is pretty simple: there are 52 weeks in a year, and your employees get paid every two weeks. 52 divided by two equals out to 26.

How Do You Calculate Biweekly Pay Per Hour?

Perhaps your hourly employees want to double-check that their paychecks are in the right amount. Or, maybe your salaried workers want to get more granular and see what their hourly earnings are.

It’s pretty simple to calculate an employee’s biweekly pay per hour. They’ll need to start by looking at their pay stub to get their total pay amount.

Looking at their gross pay (meaning the lump sum before any taxes or other deductions) will help them calculate their advertised hourly rate, but looking at their net pay (the amount they actually received in their bank account) will help them understand what they’re taking home on an hourly basis.

Your employees will also need to know how many hours they work in a typical week. They should multiply that number by two, since their paycheck captures two full weeks. Once they have that information, they can use this simple formula:

Payment amount ÷ total hours worked = hourly rate

So, for example, this is what that would look like for an employee who earned $2,000 in gross pay on their paycheck and worked 80 hours in two weeks: 2,000 ÷ 80 = $25 per hour.

What Is Semi-Monthly Pay?

Semi-monthly pay is another option for employers. Although, it’s admittedly less common, with just 19.8% of businesses opting for this payment frequency.

With a semi-monthly pay schedule, you’ll pay your employees twice per month on specific dates—most commonly on the 15th and the last day of each month.

It’s important to note that semi-monthly pay is often confused with bi-monthly pay, but these two terms mean very different things. Bi-monthly pay means you’re only paying your employees once every two months.

How Many Semi-Monthly Paychecks In A Year?

Employers who pay employees semi-monthly will give them 24 paychecks each year. Again, even if you’re no accounting whiz, the numbers here are pretty straightforward.

Let’s break down this semi-monthly pay calculation: you pay your employees two paychecks each month, and there are 12 months in a year. If you multiply two by 12, that comes out to 24 paychecks.

Is It Better To Get Paid Biweekly or Semi-Monthly?

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, you (and your employees) might be wondering which system is best? Should you pay your team biweekly or semi-monthly?

There isn’t one right option here, and there are pros and cons of each to consider. Let’s break them down.

Pros And Cons Of Biweekly Pay

Pros:

  • Boosts Morale. Paying employees more frequently can keep up morale, by keeping money in employees’ pockets.
  • Minimizes Errors. Decreases the likelihood of payroll errors compared to systems that run payroll more often, like weekly pay.
  • Saves Money. Better for the pocketbook, if you use a payroll provider that charges per payroll run—compared to weekly pay. Some providers, allow you unlimited payroll runs, giving you the freedom to decide how often you pay your team.

Cons:

  • Extra Planning. Not every month has an even number of days. You will be running payroll 26 times per year, which means there will be two months with three pay periods. You’ll have to make sure you anticipate this, and pay your staff accordingly.
  • Careful Budgeting. Since there are two months with an extra pay period, your balance sheet might take some more work to even out. 
  • Smaller Paychecks. While employees will be paid more often, their paychecks will be smaller than on a semi-monthly schedule.

Pros And Cons Of Semi-Monthly Pay

Pros:

  • Larger Paychecks. Paychecks will be larger, which can help employees feel valued for their work, however they’ll be less frequent than on a biweekly pay schedule, so check with your staff on which option they prefer.
  • Simplifies Deductions. Since you’ll always be running payroll twice a month, the semi-monthly payroll schedule makes it easy for your team to track payroll expenses and calculate deductions.
  • Consistency. Your employees will know when to expect their paycheck, every month, of every year. That can make it easier for them to plan their own personal budgets. 

Cons:

  • Calculating Overtime. When you run payroll on one specific date, some pay periods might have fewer or extra days. It can be an extra challenge to keep track of how much overtime is owed to your hourly staff when the number of working days included in a pay period varies.
  • Scheduling Snafus. Since your payroll will be tied to an actual date on the calendar, your pay period may end on a Saturday or even Sunday. You’ll have to remember to either pay your staff the Friday before or the Monday after the weekend…or run payroll over the weekend.

Or…Consider A Weekly Pay Schedule

Did you know a weekly pay schedule is the second most popular option among employers, with 32.4% of businesses opting to go this route? In fact, it may just be the easiest option, since you’ll be running payroll on the same day every week and know exactly when you’ll need to devote time to the process.

What’s more, when you hire new employees, you often have to prorate their first paycheck to make sure they’re only paid for the hours and days they actually work during that pay period. With a weekly pay schedule, you can essentially avoid this problem, since most new hires start on a Monday—the beginning of a new pay period. Also, a weekly pay schedule may be able to help with employee engagement and retention. Happy employees are invested employees, and getting paid more often can keep up a team’s spirits. Like a biweekly schedule, your staff’s paychecks will be smaller compared to a semi-monthly schedule, so it’s important to gauge your team’s preferences before making any decisions.

Provided you comply with any mandated payment frequencies in your state (more on that in the next section), what schedule you opt for should be carefully thought out. Here’s a quick chart that breaks down the nuts and bolts you’ll want to keep in mind about each of these payment schedules:

A table showing the number of paychecks for weekly, bi-weekly and semi-monthly pay periods

How Should You Decide Which Payroll Schedule Is Right For Your Business?

We’ve covered a lot about the different payment frequencies already. But, if you’re still feeling stumped about which choice is right for you, below are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Check The Rules Of Your State

Business ownership is full of rules and regulations, so you knew that something like this was bound to crop up sooner or later.

States all have different laws that apply to payment frequencies. So, before you make a choice, make sure you use this resource from the Department of Labor to check if a payroll schedule is mandated by your state.

If it is, of course, you need to make sure to comply with that.

2. Consider Your Different Types Of Employees

If you have the flexibility, you might want to use a couple of different payment schedules depending on the types of employees you have on staff.

For example, running semi-monthly payroll for your hourly employees can be challenging, especially if they racked up any overtime pay. However, it’s more straightforward for your salaried employees who are earning consistent amounts.

Unless your state laws tell you otherwise, don’t feel like you’re locked into the same system for everyone. You might have some wiggle room to tailor your approach based on employee type.

3. Ask Your Employees For Input

Still stuck on the best route for you? Your employees are the ones who are actually cashing the checks, so you might want to ask them for their opinion. Would they rather receive a smaller amount each week? Or a larger lump sum just twice a month?

Make it clear that they won’t be the ones making the final decision. However, gathering their feedback and opinions shows them that you value their ideas and want to engage with them—and it gives you some valuable insights to boot.

Payroll Can Be A Hassle, But It Doesn’t Have To Be

Most business owners will be quick to tell you that they don’t look forward to running payroll (even if they’re passionate about compensating their employees for a job well done). It’s another administrative task that they need to get through.

‍Semi-Monthly vs BI-Weekly Payroll: What’s the Difference?

It’s a question as old as time…what’s the difference between bi-weekly and semi-monthly payroll? They sound very similar…I mean, doesn’t biweekly mean every other week and doesn’t semi-monthly mean twice a month? And aren’t there 4-ish weeks in a month? 

Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy, you just haven’t fully grasped the semi-monthly vs. bi-weekly payroll debate yet. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a full guide on what makes these two types of payrolls different.

What is a bi-weekly payroll?

A biweekly payroll is when a company distributes paychecks every other week on the same day. If the chosen payday is Friday, employees will receive their paychecks every other Friday, totalling 26 paychecks for the year. 

What is a semi-monthly payroll?

A semi-monthly payroll is when a company distributes paychecks twice a month. This will typically happen on the 15th and 30th or 31st, totalling 24 paychecks for the whole year, 2 less than the bi-weekly model. 

Sounds simple enough, right? So what are the big differences?

Semi-Monthly vs. Bi-Weekly

There are some important differences when it comes to semi-monthly vs. biweekly payroll. Let’s first look at the unique attributes and benefits of the biweekly pay schedule.

Benefits of a bi-weekly payroll system

Let’s talk semi-monthly vs. biweekly. A biweekly payroll schedule will typically be seen in the eyes of your employees as “dependable” and “consistent”. They will know exactly when to expect their cheques. Also, your payroll clerk will be able to keep a consistent schedule and pace with how they distribute them. The one downside to biweekly payments is the inconsistency in how much money you are paying out each month. There will always be a couple months where you will have three paydays instead of two. It will be up to you and your accountant to make sure you will have enough to cover the extra payout. 

In general, bi-weekly payrolls are used by companies that pay their employees a low to average hourly wage. If your employees punch in and out and work a different amount of hours each week, then a bi-weekly payroll will make more sense. Keep in mind that employees who volunteer to work more hours may be doing so because they need more cash flow that week. 

Also, if you use a payroll service, you’ll be paying just a little bit more in service fees to hand out those two extra cheques. If it’s important to you that your employees feel secure in their payment schedule AND you have a looser budget, then go ahead with the biweekly model!

Benefits of a semi-monthly payroll system

Semi-monthly, please enter the ring! A semimonthly would be a great choice for an entrepreneur who wants to put the same amount of money into their payroll each month. The trade-off would be having to make sure that your payroll clerk stays on top of the ever-changing payday. This might mean preparing the cheques or deposits on Friday to make sure they’re ready for Monday. 

Also, if a semi-monthly payday lands on a weekend or holiday, plans will need to be made in order to pay employees either before or after the break in the week. If you want to keep your budget consistent and put the same amount of money into payroll each month, a semi-monthly payment model would be a no-brainer. Just be sure to keep your employees updated on any advanced or delayed payments you will be making and everything will be just fine. 

Semimonthly schedules are preferred by companies that pay their employees a set salary. These employees are expecting the same amount of money each payday and aren’t concerned if they will have enough money week-to-week. In this case, paying on a semi-monthly basis might be your best bet!

When it comes to semi-monthly vs. biweekly, there is literally no difference in the amount per year your employees will be paid. An employee who gets $51,000 per year will receive the same annual salary regardless of whether they are being paid semi-monthly vs. bi-weekly. It all depends on what makes the most sense for your unique business restrictions. 

Key takeaways

To recap, here are the main differences when it comes to the semi-monthly vs. bi-weekly payroll debate:

A semi-monthly payroll schedule pays employees twice a month, totaling 24 cheques for the whole year. This type of payroll is more suited towards companies who pay their employees a high salary and don’t need to worry about missed days due to bank holidays.

A biweekly payroll schedule pays employees 26 cheques per year every second week, usually on a Friday. This method is preferred by companies who pay their employees on an hourly basis and need to keep a reliable payment schedule. 

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