Bi-weekly vs Semi-monthly pay periods: Differences and benefits HR Blog HR Resources HR Knowledge Hive

  20. September 2022, von Sebastian

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I have to admit I did get quite a few chuckles out of this, as well. I’m going with “every other week”, but feel compelled to define myself when using the term; which, I guess, makes no sense to use the term in the first place. Even though it may be amusing to play with odd terms like “semi-biannual,” it reinforces how confusing it has become to use the prefix bi. Since “biannual” may mean either twice per year or every two years, “semi-biannual” may mean either quarterly or annually. Obviously, it’s better to use unambiguous terms that leave no doubt about what you mean. There is plenty of comment on the fact that the English language has evolved/devolved and it seems to be the justification for incorrect usage of words and/or prefixes.

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Finding the right accounting equationroll cadence for your business is important. Hopefully, by understanding each option, you can choose the right payment schedule for your small business. Processing payrollso frequently may cost more, depending on how you run payroll at your business. And you or your payroll manager will have to do so four or more times a month.

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If you are not on an automated system, the more cheques you use, the more it costs you. If your bank has a deposit fee for direct deposit, this also costs you more. The end of the month can get awkward as well since it will overlap two different months, which can cause accounting headaches. But what about when you’re at the mercy of English as it’s wielded by others? When you refinance a loan, either to get a lower interest rate or to change the loan’s time period, you have to pay a small percentage of the amount of principal you have left. You also have to pay several fees, which depend on the state and lender.

  • At the end of the summer of 1982, he moved to Albuquerque and spent most of the next year working full-time for the semiweekly New Mexico Sun newspaper.
  • Now, before you claim your camp in the war for linguistic superiority, note that the discussions here have been quite lively… linguistically speaking, that is of supreme importance.
  • Others, workers who got paid on a very similar schedule, talked about getting paid biweekly.
  • Relevant resources to help start, run, and grow your business.
  • This makes it easier for employees to save more money during certain months because they receive an additional paycheck.

There are four common pay period options, including weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, and monthly. The workers are paid two times a month using this method. Only the fifteenth and the final day of every month are utilized for this.

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Semi- infers half, or that the event happens half as often, i.e. every two weeks. For accuracy, I believe that bi-weekly would be more appropriate if this were the case. A year of semi-monthly visits would result in 24 visits while a year of bi-weekly visits would total 26. We see the contradictions and have acknowledged them in the blog.

  • The answer to that question lies in the differences between them.
  • The prefixes bi- and semi- modify the adverb weekly in different ways.
  • However, the semimonthly payment structure is also preferable compared to monthly payments.
  • Paying semimonthly means you are making 24 payments each year .
  • These terms sound like they’d mean the same thing, but the difference is slight.

If “bi” refers to periods, then it is one occurrence per two time periods. Wow, I just want to commend everyone for the lively discussion. I just googled “biweekly” for the correct usage of the term and realize I could spend my whole morning studying the arguments.

If the goal is to get your loan paid off faster and to save money in the process, no-cost refinancing might not be the best solution. When an employer elects for a weekly pay schedule, employees get paid once per week, for example every Friday. Under a monthly pay schedule, employees will get paid once per month, typically on the 1st of the month. The distinction between the two is important because not all months have the same number of days. Some months have 30 days, some have 31, and February has 28. An employee would receive 24 paychecks per year with a semi-monthly pay schedule 26 paychecks per year with a bi-weekly pay schedule.

The Difference Between Semimonthly and Biweekly Payroll

Both biweekly and semimonthly pay structures include a higher frequency of payments. With biweekly pays, employees receive their paychecks 26 times each year. This number relates to those paychecks occurring every two weeks. With semimonthly payments, employees get paid 24 times a year. These payments relate to the remuneration coming twice each month. While bi-weekly and semi-monthly payday frequencies both occur every other week, there are a few key differences between the two.

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However, it creates a more stable payment structure compared to biweekly pay. Employees also prefer this structure due to the higher frequency of payments. Because of the number of paydays, semimonthly paychecks are larger than biweekly paychecks. However, biweekly schedules result in two more paychecks for employees each year to make up the difference. For example, let’s assume an employee makes $55,000 a year.

Running a semi-monthly pay for non-exempt employees can be challenging. It is significantly different from the more common bi-weekly payroll system. The monthly payments you make are calculated with the assumption that you will be paying your loan off over a fixed period. A longer or shorter payment schedule would change how much interest in total you will owe on the loan. A shorter payment period means larger monthly payments, but overall you pay less interest. Department of Labor, “semi-monthly” means twice a month.

If you’re paid semi-monthly, you’ll receive 24 paychecks in a year as well. Here are some of the benefits of bi-weekly and semi-monthly pay schedules so you can make an informed decision on which is right for you. The hours and days covered can vary every pay period, which can complicate how you run payroll for hourly employees with overtime. In general, bi-weekly payrolls are used by companies that pay their employees a low to average hourly wage. If your employees punch in and out and work a different amount of hours each week, then a bi-weekly payroll will make more sense.

On the other hand, Georgia has their minimum wage rate set at $5.15, but the $7.25 federal minimum rate overrides it. By submitting this form, you agree to the processing of personal data according to our Privacy Policy. This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc. does not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research.

Paycheck amounts

To better understand biweekly pay, calculating it is essential. In July 2017, the first pay period would have 10 workdays and the second pay period would have 11 workdays. If we assume the employee works an eight-hour day, then the following would be true. But before detailing how to structure semi-monthly pay for your company, it’s first important to clearly understand what semi-monthly pay means.

choose to pay

Being paid every two weeks is much different than being paid semimonthly. There will be some months where I’m paid three times in a month. Ironically, in your attempt to assert the correct usage of bi-weekly, you have made a mistake. A publication that is published on the 1st and 15th is semi-monthly, not bi-weekly. The difference is that a semi-monthly publication is published 24 times in a year. A bi-weekly publication is published 26 times in a year, or 27 times if the first one is published on January 1st, or on January 2nd in a leap year.

How to choose a payroll schedule for your business

The examples in the blog equated biweekly and semimonthly because that is how they are defined in the dictionary. Your example shows why it is so important to understand the exact terms when either of these words is being used. My DD brought home her 4th grade spelling with the word biannual meaning twice a year but biweekly and bimonthly as meaning every 2 weeks or months, respectively. The examples equated biweekly and semimonthly because that is how they are defined in the dictionary.

You can use this for any type of loan including home loans. In simpler terms, a bi-weekly pay period occurs once every two weeks. Since a year has 52 weeks, a bi-weekly pay period equals 26 paychecks in a year. Child support agencies may not instruct employers to withhold more than the amount in the underlying child support order. These downloadable payroll calendar templates provide examples of common processing days and paydays.


If someone has any good examples of this, I’d love to hear of them. The only one I can quote is the use of the word “hopefully”. That helps me know that two centuries have elapsed and lets me know that bi-anything describes intervals of two units. That leaves semi-anything to mean intervals of one-half units.

weekly or semi

Running semimonthly payroll can be particularly difficult to track when weekends and holidays come into play. If payday falls on a holiday or weekend, you will either need to advance or delay payroll, adding another responsibility to your plate. Deciding between biweekly vs. semimonthly payroll can be a difficult decision, especially because federal pay laws state that you must keep the same frequency throughout the year.

Cambodia has the most days in a year in the world set aside to be non-working days, as established by law, at 28, followed by Sri Lanka at 25. Remember to adjust the „Holidays per Year“ input to calculate a correct adjusted result. Gender—Men earned an average salary of $60,528, and women earned $50,492. Women are generally paid less than men, and this difference is called the gender pay gap. There are many reasons that this pay gap exists, including discrimination, the specific industry, motherhood, and gender roles.


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