person circling pay day on a calendar

When Should I Pay My Employees?

When you hire your first employees, you’ll have to decide how often to pay them. Your choice of pay schedule comes down to weighing your preferences versus your employees’ preferences.

You’ll have to balance the costs of running payroll (including the time it takes you to run it) with what your employees want. You’ll should also check out your state’s laws about pay frequency. Some states have laws about the maximum amount of time between paychecks.

The most common pay schedules in the U.S. are monthly, semi-monthly, biweekly, and weekly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, biweekly is the most common schedule.


Using a monthly pay schedule, you’d pay your employees once a month, or 12 times a year. Monthly paychecks are typically given on the last day of the month or the first day of the next month.

Running payroll monthly is the cheapest option, but most employees don’t like getting paid just once a month.


If you choose to pay your employees semi-monthly, or twice a month, you’ll have 24 pay periods during the year. Employees are typically paid on the 1st and 15th or the 15th and 30th.

Paying your employees semi-monthly will help your accounting run smoothly because the last paycheck will typically coincide with the end of the month. Because of this, semi-monthly is a great option for salaried employees.


Paying your employees biweekly means you’ll pay them every other week. This results in 26 (sometimes 27) pay periods.

Running payroll biweekly is great for hourly employees. If you pay hourly employees semi-monthly, their overtime might be split between two paychecks. Paying them biweekly, however, makes it easy to figure out when to pay them for their overtime.


If you pay your employees weekly, you’ll pay them 52 times a year.

Hourly employees prefer to be paid weekly because it makes budgeting easier. Paying your employees weekly, however, will take a lot more time because you’ll have to sit down every week to process payroll.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what pay frequency is best for you and your employees.