50+ Sample Payroll Schedules

What Is a Payroll Schedule?

The length of a pay period and how frequently a company pays its employees to comprise a payroll schedule. The most typical schedules in different industries are weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, and monthly payrolls. Several factors, including state laws and regulations, influence an organization’s payroll schedule. Businesses must adhere to the payment schedule frequency standards in several states. In addition to complying with state laws, the payment schedule must meet the needs of employees and the business. If an organization primarily employs hourly workers, the pay schedule differs from that of a company that primarily employs salaried employees. State laws and provisions, industries, and the types of workers in the business impact the payroll schedule. Organizations can choose to pay their employees more frequently than required by law, but not less frequently. There are often conventional pay schedules to consider as well. Payroll schedules differ from pay dates and payroll numbers. Pay dates are the days on which employees receive their salaries and pay stubs, whereas payroll numbers are unique identifiers assigned to employees to help protect their personal information and make payroll processing easier. The frequency with which pay dates occur is what industries refer to as a payroll schedule.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Current Employment Statistics, in February of 2022, the most common payroll schedule and pay period is the biweekly schedule, comprising an estimated 45.7 percent of private establishments in the United States.

Types of Payroll Schedules

Different industries and organizations implement different schedules when paying employees. Proper payroll management guarantees that employees acquire their pay on time while making sure that the organization meets its legal obligations. When processing employee payrolls, various types of payroll schedules are available for organizations to use to settle employees’ compensation during specific dates. There are four most common types of payroll schedules in different industries and corporate structures businesses use for their employees. Depending on the corporate nature, operation, and function, the section below details the different types of payroll schedules that employees can expect from various companies.

Weekly payroll schedule: Employees receive their pay on the same day each week under a weekly pay schedule. The pay period for a weekly payroll refers to the most recent full week worked, usually starting from Monday to Sunday. The most popular day for supplying employee pay is Friday, and organizations can select whatever day works best for the company under the confines of the law. Weekly payroll schedules are prevalent in manual labor jobs, along with retail businesses and restaurants. Employees working in these positions are frequently on hourly pay and work irregular hours each week. Retailers, for example, encounter busy periods just before holidays and require additional assistance from employees. Some companies require their employees to work longer hours in the weeks leading up to the holidays before going back to a more comfortable schedule after the season. Due to the increased sales revenue, an employer can cover higher payroll costs before returning employees go back to their regular schedules at a reduced payroll cost. The most significant disadvantage of using weekly payroll schedules is the cost. Supporting weekly payroll expenses can quickly deplete a company’s bottom line if it is not making consistent weekly profits. It is especially true if the organization uses an outsourced payroll service and pays weekly fees.Biweekly payroll schedule: Employees must receive their pay on the same day every two weeks under a biweekly pay schedule. Most employers select Friday as their payday, similar to the weekly payroll schedule. A biweekly payroll schedule is ideal if an organization has both salaried and hourly employees. Employees can easily budget their finances thanks to this payment schedule. Salaried employees are guaranteed to generate the same paycheck every other week, and hourly employees can work extra hours to make up for any hours missed in the previous week to balance their paychecks. Employees have the compensation of 26 times annually on a biweekly payroll calendar, which means that there are two months per year when they receive three salaries. However, those two “extra” paychecks can be problematic for employers. If the company’s revenue shows consistency monthly, it can be difficult to budget for months with extra paydays. If management does not pay close attention to the extra paydays, it confuses the process of calculating payroll deductions, including health benefits.Semi-monthly payroll schedule: Employees must receive their pay twice a month under a semimonthly pay schedule. Employers who use this type of pay schedule pay their employees on the first and fifteenth day of each month or the fifteenth and last day of the month. It differs slightly from biweekly pay schedules in that there are 24 total paydays in a year rather than 26. Semimonthly payroll schedules are an excellent choice for salaried employees. Employees can better plan their monthly budgets if they know when and how much they’ll receive each month. Similarly, employers know precisely what their salary expenses will be every month. Hourly employees, on the other hand, may find semimonthly pay schedules difficult. It frequently results in one workweek being split into two pay periods, making calculating overtime pay unnecessarily complicated. Since semimonthly pay schedules happen on specific dates, pay dates can conflict with weekends and holidays. Despite employees having direct deposit set up, there may be times when they do not receive their paychecks on time.Monthly payroll schedule: A monthly payroll schedule compensates employees monthly for 12 paydays per year. Most businesses with monthly payroll schedules pay their employees on the last day of the month; however, it varies by country. The monthly payroll schedule is the most cost-effective for businesses because there are only 12 paydays per year. It makes the computation simpler and quicker alongside other monthly reports. In countries where a 13th or 14th-month salary is mandatory or customary, it increases costs once or twice a year. Some countries use the lunar calendar for monthly payroll rather than the Gregorian calendar when lunar payroll cycles occur every 28 days on average. A monthly payroll schedule is not the best option for a company, depending on local laws and regulations. A company must use a different payroll schedule if local laws require payment or compensation for employees at least twice a month. Furthermore, a monthly payment schedule is unlikely to be suitable for part-time or hourly workers. The gap between paychecks can make it difficult to stick to a budget and manage expenses.

How to Select the Best Payroll Schedule for a Business

When working on creating a payroll schedule, there are different things to consider. Various industries select the most beneficial payment schedule for their employees without causing too many problems within the organization while providing compensation and benefits. When developing a payroll schedule, the management must consider all the factors to help out with selecting an ideal payroll schedule for its employees. The section below provides information and tips on selecting the best payroll schedule for a business.

1. Look Over State Laws and Regulations

The 50 states in the United States have a minimum payroll schedule stating whether it is already illegal to pay your employees after a certain period. Remember that organizations can pay their employees more frequently than the law allows but never less frequently. As such, management and business owners should look into state laws and regulations before selecting and implementing a specific payroll schedule for the organization.

2. Consider the Flexibility of the Pay Schedule

Whether the company processes its payroll internally or outsources services to a third-party company, it must consider flexibility when selecting a payroll schedule. An in-house payroll department can adjust to more frequent pay periods more conveniently, but it may take longer to get the numbers in order. A third-party entity, on the other hand, can be faster, but they only prioritize creating semi-monthly payroll schedules.

3. Consider the Needs of the Company and the Team

An organization has a lot of documents to deal with when it comes to payroll. The list of benefits, overtime, taxes, and payroll reports is endless. If the business lacks the time or resources to complete the paperwork on a weekly payroll schedule, the company is better off switching to a semi-monthly schedule. When deciding on the best payroll schedule for the company, it’s also critical to consider the needs of team members. Payroll distribution once a month may be valuable to the company, but it may not be advantageous to its employees. On the other end of the spectrum, while weekly paycheck distribution is practical to the employees, it may not be helpful to the business.

4. Consider the Benefits and Disadvantages of Each Schedule

Each payroll schedule has advantages and disadvantages. Despite state or local laws limiting an organization’s options, the business must still consider all of them before deciding which one is most suitable for the company. There is no perfect solution, so corporations must be open to compromise and accept a more complex biweekly schedule, complete with additional pay periods and more complicated reporting, to keep employees happy. However, if the accounting department is conscientious about getting pay to employees as close to, or even before, payday as possible, all involved parties can utilize and settle with a semi-monthly schedule.

5. Assess Employees and their Needs

Another thing to think about when deciding on a payroll schedule for a company is the necessity of part-time and full-time employees. Most salaried employees, whether part-time or full-time, prefer payment as frequently as possible. However, the differences between biweekly and semi-monthly are minor enough for individuals to be content with either. Hourly employees, on the other hand, whether part-time or full-time, prefer a weekly or biweekly payroll schedule. Requesting more frequent payment than every two weeks can result in low morale and employee retention.

6. Gauge How Overtime Pay Affects the Payroll Schedule

Overtime for employees working by the hour is one of the most complicated parts of a payroll. Before an organization selects a schedule, it must determine how overtime pay affects the overall compensation process and calculation. The government enforces the Fair Labor and Standards Act in the 1940s to establish the standard work hours of employees at regular pay, which is 40 hours a week, equivalent to an 8-hour and 5-day work week. If employees work beyond these hours, they receive additional pay with a standard overtime rate of 1.5 times that for regular pay. As long as organizations comply with federal, state, and local laws, they can compensate all employees however they like.


Which payroll schedule is best?

There are various factors for businesses and establishments when selecting a payroll schedule that fits best with their employees while keeping in mind that they must follow national, state, and local laws to guarantee they always adhere to requirements and regulations under the law.

What are the pay periods for 2022?

For the year 2022, a bi-weekly payroll schedule has 26 pay periods, 12 pay periods for those organizations implementing the monthly payroll schedule, and up to 52 pay periods for businesses implementing the weekly pay schedule for their employees.

What is a typical payroll cycle?

A typical payroll cycle, pay period, or payment schedule for many organizations falls under the semi-monthly pay periods wherein management compensates their employees twice per month on specific days, either on the first and 15th day of the month or the 15th and last day of the month.

Payroll schedules are vital documents and plans for employees and organizations to guarantee that employees receive their compensation according to local and state laws. When creating the pay schedules for an organization, consider employee work schedules, pay variations, and whether they are hourly or salaried employees. Management must also communicate with the accounting department or payroll specialists the best schedule for the organization to implement, including taxes, benefit packages, and processing costs that influence the suitability of payroll schedules. Depending on the business, organizations can select weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly schedules. Construct a payroll schedule document for the organization using the sample template available in the article and develop a company-wide employee schedule suitable to different individuals in the business.