A salary is a fixed amount that is paid to an employee at regular intervals, irrespective of the hours or amount of work performed. The amount of a salary is usually stated as the full annual amount to be paid, such as $80,000 per year. Salaries are usually paid at bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly intervals. A salaried employee is typically paid through the date of each paycheck, since the amount paid never varies. The annual salary amount to be paid is frequently stated in an offer letter or employment contract.
Someone who is paid a wage instead of a salary is usually paid based on the hours or amount of work performed, and is typically paid on a more frequent basis. The amount paid is usually as of several days prior to the date of the paycheck, since it takes time to calculate wages, which may vary by paycheck.