Payroll Calendar: Biweekly Pay Periods in 2024
As HR shifts focus toward the new year, it is crucial to prepare for important dates and compliance requirements. Similar to last year, 2024 will have the usual 26 pay periods for those being paid biweekly.
However, the payroll schedule employers use determines how many paychecks an employee receives in a given year. Some employees are paid on a monthly basis receiving only 12 paychecks a year; some receive 24 semi-monthly, while others are paid weekly, receiving up to 52 paychecks in a given year.
Read on to learn about how many paychecks employees may receive due to these different pay structures, and decide which payroll schedule is best for your organization.
What Is a Pay Period?
A pay period is a recurring stretch of time representing the days an employee has worked and is compensated.
Every business needs to determine which payroll schedule is right for their company. But it’s not always that simple. Small businesses must take into account the needs of the business and the needs of their employees before making a decision.
When employers weigh their options about which type of pay period to use for their team, it’s important to take into account the kinds of employees they have—and the cost, time, and resources they need to manage their payroll. Here are the four most common types of pay periods:
Monthly: Occurs once a month on a specific recurring date
Semi-monthly: Occurs twice a month on two specific recurring dates
Bi-weekly: Occurs every two weeks on a specific day of the week
Weekly: Occurs once a week on a specific day of the week
One important thing to keep in mind is state compliance. While there are federal regulations that must be maintained by every employer, states also have their own compliance requirements that employers need to remain aware of. This differs by state, and employers should look to gain full competency over these regulations to ensure compliance.
How Many Bi-weekly Paychecks Will There Be In 2024?
You can expect 26 biweekly pay periods in the 2024 calendar year.
- If organizations distribute paychecks beginning on January 5, then three paychecks will be run in the months of March and August.
- If your organization runs the first check on January 12, there will be three paychecks in the months of May and November.
The Difference Between Bi-weekly and Semi-monthly Payroll
Semi-monthly means that two paychecks are distributed each month. This form of payroll most often occurs on the 15th and the 30th. If either of these dates falls on the weekend, paychecks are distributed on the preceding Friday. When using a semi-monthly payroll system, you will always have only 24 pay periods per year. The upside to this form of payroll is that benefit deduction, and accounting are easier to manage.
Bi-weekly involves being paid every other week, generally on Friday. This provides employees with 26 paychecks in 2024 as opposed to the 24 payouts semi-monthly. This means there will be two months out of the year where three paychecks are distributed. Bi-weekly allows for a more consistent payday and balanced pay schedule throughout the year.
What Payroll Schedule Is Best?
No one pays attention when you get payroll right, but it only takes one mistake to harm HR’s reputation within your organization. And, of course, it is crucial you remain fully compliant as well. When you consider these factors, It comes as no surprise that so many HR pros stick with the payroll practices and schedules they inherited from their predecessors.
But your payroll practices should be intentional, not inherited—especially when it comes to your pay schedule. Many organizations with a mix of exempt and nonexempt employees are already on a monthly or semimonthly pay schedule simply because that’s the way it has always been. In HR, that’s never a good reason to continue on with difficult measures.
After some consideration, a semi-monthly schedule may seem easier for calculating benefit deductions; however, the division of deductions on a biweekly schedule is not nearly as complicated as it first seems. You can use one of two methods:
Divide your employer's annual premium by 26, and deduct that from each biweekly paycheck.
Divide monthly premiums in half, and deduct that from each biweekly paycheck—except for the “extra” check for those two months with three pay dates.
Though weekly works similarly, having to run payroll half as often still places biweekly at an overall advantage.
In addition, employees appreciate the ability to budget with the predictability of biweekly paychecks. Although all of the pay schedules we’ve covered offer regularity, semimonthly and monthly pay periods make it more difficult for nonexempt employees to budget when they’ve worked irregular hours for overtime pay. For nonexempt workers, having a more regular paycheck as well as a predictable one can offer the benefits of better spreading out payments and managing overall income.
Employees also tend to enjoy the few months that offer three paychecks, which is exclusively associated with biweekly payment methods.
Featured Resource: HR Calendar 2024
There’s more to a new year than pay periods. Stay on track from January through December with this comprehensive 2024 HR calendar, featuring everything you need to know about major holidays, key compliance requirements, ACA deadlines, and more.
You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with pay periods and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:
- BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
- HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
- BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
- HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
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