Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
Biweekly pay is when a business pays its employees every other week on a specific day of the week. For example, you might choose to pay your employees every other Friday. Since every calendar year has 52 weeks, this results in a total of 26 paychecks per year. This is different from semi monthly pay, which is paid out on two specific dates a month (e.g., every 5th and 20th of the month) and results in 24 paychecks per year.
Biweekly pay frequency has advantages for both employees and HR.
For employees, biweekly pay helps them:
Budget their finances more easily since they receive a paycheck on the same day every other week.
Feel more secure with a set pay day as opposed to a pay date, which can be on any day of the week (as with semimonthly paychecks).
For HR, biweekly pay helps you:
Save time and reduce the chances of making a payroll error (compared to weekly payroll processing).
Calculate overtime pay more easily (compared with semimonthly pay), since overtime is based on a workweek.
Save money if your payroll provider charges you for every payroll run (though this is only true compared to weekly processing; semimonthly and monthly processing would cost less because payroll is run less often).
Biweekly pay is the most popular pay frequency, with 36.5 percent of U.S. businesses paying their employees every two weeks. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), three industries tend to use biweekly pay:
Education and health services
Leisure and hospitality
Before making any decision about how often to pay your employees, check your state payday requirements from the DOL as some states require more frequent pay intervals.