The Ambiguity of ‘Biweekly’ and ‘Bimonthly’

paid semi monthly

For months where additional planning was not put in place, a small business may not have sufficient funds for a three paycheck month compared to a two paycheck month. Bi-weekly payroll ensures employees receive their wages the same day every two weeks. Meanwhile, with semi-monthly, the day of the week can change. Semi-monthly payroll goes off of two dates in the month, generally the 1st and the 15th, thus the day it falls on per month can differ. When discussing the semi-monthly vs bi-weekly payroll, it is important to check the pros and cons of the biweekly pay period as well.

Because weeks are often split in the semi-monthly pay, calculation of overtime is complicated. Bi-weekly pay makes it easier to calculate overtime on a weekly basis. In this case, employees with direct deposit generally receive payment on the preceding business day. Biweekly employees usually receive 26 paychecks per year; semimonthly employees receive 24.

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Each pay period spans a period of 14 days and always begins and ends on the same days of the week. This means that there will be approximately 26 pay periods in a year, plus or minus a fraction of a pay period, as years do not begin and end on the same dates. Biweekly pay is a method of payment where an employee receives their wages on a two-week basis.

Taxes are a percentage of earnings and thus will be deducted over 26 pay periods each year. The bridge payment will be paid automatically to affected employees. The gross amount of the bridge payment represents 3.2% of your annual salary. This will end the confusion surrounding regular pay on one paycheck and overtime on another. This change will result in a clearly defined two-week work period that includes both regular and exception pay.

In a biweekly pay period or schedule, the employee is set to receive a paycheck every other week. Usually, the employers distribute pay checks on Fridays sticking to the same day every pay week. Thus, in this pay period, the employee receives 26 pay checks annually.

This, however, can be risky; for example, if an employee leaves your company without making adjustments, they will not pay back the estimated hours. It should be avoided as much as possible to prevent such mistakes from happening. Bi-weekly payroll for employees provides less consistency in your budgeting, since some months will have three payrolls and others two. You’ll also have different amounts for benefits calculations in some months. However, the extra accounting work for bi-weekly payroll is not significant and might be worth it to maintain employee morale. If not, it will be received the Monday after or the Friday before.

This amount is derived by dividing fifty thousand dollars by 24 as there are two pay cycles every month. State laws dictate the types of payment schedules companies are allowed to implement. For example, in Alabama and South Carolina, there are no specified regulations, so companies can choose whichever schedule they prefer.

Semi-Monthly Cons

If I tried to sell bi-weekly as twice a week (semi-weekly) when I was in elementary/middle school years ago, I’d currently be the oldest 5th grader on the planet. At the current rate, in another years, bi-weekly may mean a few times a week, every several weeks or anything in between. Being paid every two weeks is much different than being paid semimonthly. There will be some months where I’m paid three times in a month. Nick, I think you’re pointing to the source of the confusion.

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Jermaine always took a peppermint from the counter when he visited the bank to deposit his bi-weekly paycheck. While taking care of their interests, they also need to give due consideration to the state regulations. In many states, there are regulations about how often the employees need to be paid.

In addition to the cost savings, semi-monthly pay makes it easier for businesses to calculate tax and benefits deductions. But just because bi-weekly pay periods are the most popular doesn’t mean it’s the best payroll system for your business. Your employees’ preferences, HR needs, and payroll software’s pricing and administrative requirements should dictate how you pay employees.

Biweekly vs. Semimonthly Payroll

A semimonthly payroll is paid twice a month, usually on the 15th and last days of the month. If one of these pay dates falls on a weekend, the payroll is instead paid out on the preceding Friday. A biweekly payroll is paid every other week, usually on a Friday. 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.

  • Just remember one that you would never misuse, such as my favorite, a bicentennial.
  • Thus, in this pay period, the employee receives 26 pay checks annually.
  • The uneven distribution of pay periods throughout the year may provide a challenge for employees to budget, as they may rely on the “three pay period month” to get them into the clear.
  • If payday falls on a holiday or weekend, you will either need to advance or delay payroll, adding another responsibility to your plate.

It has been politely and professionally enjoined by all of the participants, which speaks well of all of you. I especially like Matt Emerson’s discussion of how the ambiguity that seems to have arisen in these words can be represented as an ambiguity in the order of mathematical operations. This would make the ly association the preferred one, and it would mean once every half year, or twice per year. This would also make biannual consistent with biennial, and it produces the usual association for fortnightly, for whatever that’s worth. I guess the main purpose of language is clear communication – picking the shortest way of writing or saying something isn’t always the best option. Having a secondary meaning for a term evolve through usage is one thing.

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We’ve also got a whole library of content on other confusing words and phrases you might see while learning the language. I just joined this semi-monthly book club, and the meeting is next week, but I haven’t read the book yet. The same dictionary defines ‘semi-monthly’ as twice a month. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘bi-weekly’ as occurring every two weeks or occurring twice a week. Employees are paid on a specific day, e.g. every other Friday.

Running semimonthly payroll can also be difficult to track when weekends and holidays come into play. If a pay day falls on a weekend or holiday, you have to decide to either advance or delay payroll for that pay period, which adds another responsibility to your plate. Understanding the difference between biweekly vs. semimonthly payroll can prevent financial setbacks, keep your business legally compliant, and more. For example, most people get paid bi-weekly but my company pays me semi-monthly .

When to Use Semi-monthly

In future calendar years, there will be 26 bi-weekly pay periods. If you have 10 employees who each earn $1,500 in gross wages per paycheck, you’ll need to have an additional $15,000 on hand both months that have three paychecks in them. The examples in the blog equated biweekly and semimonthly because that is how they are defined in the dictionary. Your example shows why it is so important to understand the exact terms when either of these words is being used. My DD brought home her 4th grade spelling with the word biannual meaning twice a year but biweekly and bimonthly as meaning every 2 weeks or months, respectively. The examples equated biweekly and semimonthly because that is how they are defined in the dictionary.

The only one I can quote is the use of the word “hopefully”. Just because many people use these words incorrectly, doesn’t mean that their definitions have changed. I think that a website or blog such as this should clearly articulate what is correct and incorrect, and not add to the confusion by saying both are correct. As an arbiter for proper use of the English language, this website should be steadfast in sticking with the definitions and proper word usage.

weekly pay periods

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. 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.

Voluntary retirement deductions can be percentage based or flat rate. Students paid on a stipend will be paid according to the dates specified in their contract. Please view the 2022 and 2023 Bi-weekly Payroll Calendars here. A general ledger account is the backbone of the recordkeeping of business, forming the basis of a firm’s financial statements.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a full guide on what makes these two types of payrolls different. The uneven distribution of pay periods throughout the year may provide a challenge for employees to budget, as they may rely on the “three pay period month” to get them into the clear. The hours are then multiplied by the employee’s hourly pay rate to determine the total wages due for that period. If an employee works over 40 hours in a week, then overtime is also factored in.

That means you will receive three paychecks in December, the third of which will not include these flat rate premium deductions. Review your personal finances and determine if you need to adjust your budget for bi-weekly paychecks. If your employee worked 12 days for the first pay period, and then 13 days for the next period, each paycheck would be for different amounts. To get the salary for either of the pay groups, you need to divide the annual salary by the number of pay periods. I detect a fair bit of frustration in the posts being tossed about here and it certainly will not end with this thread. For the frustrated, your angst is understandable as you seek closure, but I offer some perspective on the cost of closure.

Because you calculate overtime based on a 40-hour workweek, a bi-weekly paycheck limits the crossover of overtime on paychecks that can occur with a semi-monthly paycheck. The definition of bi-weekly payroll is a payment schedule where employees receive their paycheck on a specific day of the week, every two weeks. For example, a business operating a bi-weekly payroll schedule might pay its employees every other Friday, irrespective of when one month ends or a new one begins. In a calendar year of 52 weeks, such a schedule will mean the business pays its employees 26 paychecks per year or 27 paychecks in a leap year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36.5% of employees are paid biweekly. On the other hand, only 19.8% of employees are paid using the semimonthly payroll frequency.

This can be done through a timesheet or other tracking methods, such as punch cards or automated systems. All hours an employee works are tracked within the 14-day span of the pay period and paid out the following week. Overtime is also tracked on a weekly basis that generally syncs with the pay period’s start date. First, let’s review bi-weekly versus weekly pay periods and what to consider.


Getting two unearned revenue checks results in extra savings and better management of various expenses. Let us ponder over what is the difference between semi-monthly and biweekly pay periods with the help of an example. If you’re running any sort of business that employs people, an aspect that begs your attention is the pay frequency for your employees. There are two commonly used pay schedules – semi-monthly and bi-monthly.

You can always change your pay approach to find a rhythm that works best for you and your employees — just make sure they know about any changes in advance. 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.

weekly vs semi

We are unclear about whether you are saying in your first sentence that an historic is correct on both sides of the pond. We want to reiterate that a historic is correct in American usage. Yes, this site represents American English rules and guidelines. You’re correct about the American meaning of momentarily.

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