Bi-weekly payroll

What is Bi-weekly payroll?


Bi-weekly payroll is a payment schedule where employees are paid every other week, often on a fixed weekday like Friday. This approach results in employees typically receiving two paychecks per month, except in two months of the year when they receive three due to the calendar layout.

Key Information

  • Frequency: There are generally 26 pay periods in a year, except in leap years, where there might be 27.
  • Paycheck Distribution: Employees receive two paychecks for ten months and three paychecks in two months each year.
  • Flexibility in Payment Day: Despite holidays or the occurrence of a third monthly paycheck, the regular payday can be temporarily shifted.

Difference from Semi-Monthly Payroll

Bi-weekly payroll should not be confused with semi-monthly payroll. While bi-weekly means employees are paid every other week, semi-monthly refers to being paid twice a month.


  • Consistency: The regularity of bi-weekly pay helps both employers and employees in planning and budgeting.
  • Morale and Trust Building: Regular paychecks can boost employee morale and foster trust between the employer and employees.
  • Ease of Overtime Calculation: For hourly workers, calculating overtime payments becomes simpler and more consistent.
  • Reduced Payroll Errors: A consistent payroll schedule can lead to fewer errors in processing.


  • Perceived Lower Earnings: The paychecks might appear smaller due to the more frequent payment schedule, though annual earnings remain unchanged.
  • Complexity in Payroll Processing: Bi-weekly pay may complicate the calculation of monthly deductions, especially when pay periods span two different months.
  • Potential Increased Costs: If using outsourced payroll services that charge per pay period, bi-weekly payroll can be more expensive due to more frequent processing.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, adopting a bi-weekly payroll system offers a consistent and predictable payment schedule, fostering financial planning and trust between employers and employees. While the advantages include ease of overtime calculation and reduced payroll errors, potential challenges involve perceived lower earnings and increased complexity in payroll processing. Ultimately, the choice between bi-weekly and semi-monthly payroll should align with organizational needs, considering both the benefits and potential drawbacks associated with each approach.