Pay period

A pay period is the stretch of time over which employee work hours are compiled for later inclusion in a paycheck. This is typically a standardized period, such as a weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, or monthly period. It is more efficient for an employer to avoid a weekly pay period, since this requires the preparation of 52 paychecks per year. Conversely, employees may object to a monthly pay period, since they are only paid 12 times per year. These conflicting pressures lead many employers to adopt a biweekly or semi-monthly pay period.

An employer can have different pay periods for different groups of employees. For example, hourly workers may have a weekly pay period, while salaried workers have a biweekly pay period. Some state governments regulate the frequency of pay periods, such as not allowing pay periods of more than one month.

Related Courses

Human Resources Guidebook 
Optimal Accounting for Payroll
Payroll Management