A bi-weekly pay schedule is the most commonly used pay period by employers. The schedule is determined by the business, with payment issued to employees on a set day, every other week. On a bi-weekly payroll calendar, employees receive 26 paychecks a year, 27 in a leap year. Twice a year, workers receive 3 paychecks in a month making bi-weekly pay a popular pay cycle among employees.
Companies are required by state laws to pay wages at prescribed intervals (pay frequency) and within a set amount of time following the close of the intervals (pay timeliness). State laws establish the minimum pay frequency, but businesses may pay more frequently if they choose. One downside to a weekly pay schedule is that it requires more paperwork to be completed which increases the likelihood of human error.
For human resources and payroll administrators, bi-weekly pay is more convenient for multiple reasons. It reduces the time spent processing payroll and the likelihood of payroll errors. Updating payroll records is also more convenient on a bi-weekly schedule. Bi-weekly payroll helps simplify reconciliation by reducing the burden on HR for tracking live checks and making it easier to account for taxes.