What is the difference between biweekly and semimonthly payroll?


There are a few advantages of operating a semimonthly payroll for businesses. The first advantage of a semimonthly payroll for businesses is employee motivation. Paying employees more frequently causes their motivation levels to rise. Businesses do not have to pay their employees anything extra to increase their motivation levels. Semi Monthly Pay Periods can cause employees to accidentally overestimate their pay. For some employees, they assume the semi monthly pay schedule includes the pay from the date they are getting paid.

If you choose this pay schedule, you will be paying your employee once every two weeks on a designated day of the week. The distinction between the two is important because not all months have the same number of days. An employee would receive 24 paychecks per year with a semi-monthly pay schedule 26 paychecks per year with a bi-weekly pay schedule. Whereas an employee on a semi monthly pay schedule will have to wait approximately every two weeks for a pay check. This can leave employees with a hard time analyzing their pay stubs and account balance. In a monthly pay schedule, payroll is processed 12 times a year on a fixed recurring date.

Semi-monthly Payroll Example

Two popular, yet easily confused, pay periods are biweekly and … As discussed, this is because biweekly payrolls consider weeks rather than months. The consistency of semimonthly payrolls also makes them better for budgeting as compared to biweekly payrolls. The difference between a semimonthly and a biweekly payroll is that the semimonthly one is paid 24 times per year, and the biweekly one is paid 26 times per year. A semimonthly payroll is paid twice a month, usually on the 15th and last days of the month.

You then calculate overtime and apply the adjustments during the next pay period. Payroll processing for semi-monthly hourly employees is not as straightforward as that of biweekly hourly employees. Since some months have 30 days and others have 31 days, a semi-monthly hourly employee’s pay will often vary according to the different number of days. From an efficiency perspective, the quickbooks review payroll is preferable, since there are two fewer payrolls per year to prepare. Also, it is somewhat easier to apportion salaries and wages among the correct months with the semimonthly method, since there is less need for month-end adjusting entries. Biweekly and semimonthly can be confusing because employees generally receive two payments per month.

What is the semi-monthly pay schedule for 2023?

To combat this, it may be beneficial to process payroll semimonthly for salaried employees and biweekly for hourly workers. This is because businesses operating biweekly payrolls pay their employees every alternate week of the year. There are 52 weeks in a year which means that employees get paid 26 times, which is once every two weeks.

Under a monthly pay schedule, employees will get paid once per month, typically on the 1st of the month. Although not the most common type of payroll, semi-monthly pay schedules are still frequently used among businesses around the world. The most commonly asked question about semi-monthly payroll is whether it means twice a month or every two weeks. To prorate a semi-monthly salary, you need first to find out the employee’s rate per day. A semi-monthly payroll occurs twice each month and 24 times each year. Also, as you should know, there are 2,080 workdays in a calendar year (52 weeks multiplied by 40 hours).

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A schedule of regular payments, twice a month, usually on the 1st and 15th of the month. Similarly, you can multiply his daily salary by his total workdays to get his prorated semi-monthly salary. Make your proof of income pay stubs quickly and easily with our state of the art pay stub generator.

Word History

On the other hand, employees may prefer bi-weekly payroll since they still get paid twice a month but get two extra paychecks per year. Also, they get paid consistently on a particular day of the week, for example, every other Thursday, rather than a random day of the week. When a business elects to use a semi-monthly pay schedule, its employees will get paid twice a month, or 24 times per year. In most instances, this will happen either on the 1st and 15th of every month or the 15th and last day (28th, 30th, or 31st) of every month. There are several common dates employers use when on a semi monthly pay schedule. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the semi-monthly pay period is the third most common pay period in the US behind weekly and bi-weekly pay periods respectively.

  • A schedule of regular payments, twice a month, usually on the 1st and 15th of the month.
  • For example, if the monthly salary of an employee is $5,000, then their semimonthly salary will be $2,500 ($5,000 / 2).
  • Also, you are not to deduct any amount from the employee’s salary.
  • Two popular, yet easily confused, pay periods are biweekly and …

With this semi-monthly pay calculator, you can know what is the semi-monthly pay equivalent to any other period. Input the wage you know (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly), and the tool will provide the wage corresponding to the semi-monthly pay period. The calculator assumes a working schedule of 40 hours and five days a week, but you can change it. Just like the name implies, semi-monthly means an event that occurs twice a month. Hence, a semi-monthly payroll is a payment cycle in which employers pay employees twice each month, with the due dates falling on the 15th and the last days each month. The business may consider choosing a provider that allows unlimited payroll runs, regardless of frequency.

Definition of Biweekly Payroll

The word weekly is an adverb and adjective that means occurring once in a week. A bicycle, for instance, has two wheels, and a bicameral legislature (like the one in place in the United States government) has two houses. A semi-monthly payment schedule has 2 payments per monthly cycle, so typically paid on 1st and 15th of every month. An income tax paid semimonthly means it is paid twice a month, usually on the 1st and 15th of every month.


Comparatively, businesses that operate a monthly payroll will prepare their payroll 12 times a year. Businesses that operate a semimonthly payroll pay their employees twice every month. For example, a business may pay its employees on every 3rd and 18th date of the month. In some cases, semi monthly pay periods may not be right for all employees.

What is Biweekly Payroll and How Does It Work?

So you should still learn the difference between bi-weekly and semi-monthly. Most months contain three full weeks, as well as enough extra days to bring the total up to 30 or 31 days. The key to this puzzle lies in the meanings of the prefixes semi- and bi-. Semi monthly is a twice a month schedule of regular payments, such as salary. Semi Monthly Pay Periods may be challenging for managers to understand. Managers who are not experienced in a semi monthly pay cycle may have a difficult time managing their budget.

The prefix semi- means half in a literal sense and can also mean partial in a less literal sense. When you add these parts together, you get an adverb that means occurring every two weeks or every other week. I will use each of these words in a few example sentences to demonstrate how they should appear in context. These real pay stubs provide information that can be verified by potential creditors, making the process of buying a home, car, or applying for a loan quick and simple.

Automating the attendance tracking system will help to record and pay for overtime correctly. Also, you are not to deduct any amount from the employee’s salary. You can only do this when such deduction is permissible by the US Department of Labor. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only.


For example, On the 1st and 15th of every month you will get your salary or your income tax return, so it is called semimonthly schedule. However, salaried employees receive a fixed sum each semi-monthly pay period. As a result of this, circumstances will typically arise that will require you to prorate salary. Weekly pay schedules require 52 paychecks to be processed over a year, making it the most expensive and time-consuming pay schedule for employers.

Therefore, almost all businesses have a specific department dedicated to managing their employees. Although it is up to every individual company to decide which type of pay schedule they want to implement, certain types of pay schedules are more popular in some industries. For example, if you make $3,000 per month, you would get paid $1,500 semi monthly or twice a month.


On the other hand, this decision may not be as favorable for the employees that may demotivate them. For example, banks and other financial services industries often elect for monthly paychecks since people in this profession earn higher than average salaries. For industries that pay low hourly wages, such as food service, weekly paychecks are more common.

Semi monthly pay is a schedule of regular payments, twice a month, on specified days. You would get paid 2 times per month for work or services performed. Since there are 12 months in a year, that would make 24 semi-monthly pay periods. As a result of this, salaried employees are paid for 86.67 hours each semi-monthly pay period.

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