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Biweekly Pay: What It Means & How It Works



Biweekly Pay

Biweekly Pay: What It Means & How It Works

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2014
Biweekly Pay

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With the global shift to remote and distributed teams, understanding the dynamics of payroll processing becomes paramount. It's important to recognize that selecting a payroll schedule can have a significant impact on both employees and the organization at large. One such prevalent payroll schedule is the bi-weekly pay. Let's explore what this entails, its advantages and challenges, and how it stands against a semi-monthly payroll.

What is Bi-weekly Pay?

Bi-weekly pay is a payment schedule where employees receive their wages every two weeks, typically on a designated day such as Friday. In essence, this pay period system ensures a total of 26 pay periods in a year. Each pay period usually covers 80 hours of work for full-time employees, which is equivalent to two weeks of work. In this setup, both salaried employees and the ones described as hourly employees get their wages consistently.

This form of payroll processing is commonly practiced, especially among tech companies with remote or distributed teams, as it provides a consistent and regular payment schedule for both salaried and hourly employees.

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How Does Bi-weekly Pay Work?

Implementing a bi-weekly pay system might seem daunting initially, but when broken down into smaller tasks, it becomes more manageable. Here's a detailed step-by-step guide on how a biweekly payroll process operates:

Step 1: Defining the Payroll Period

First and foremost, you need to establish the start and end dates of your pay period. Typically, the start date of a pay period corresponds with the first day an employee starts accruing working hours that will be included in their paycheck. This is an integral part of establishing any payroll system, including a fully compliant remote payroll schedule.

Step 2: Timesheet Submission

Once the payroll period ends, employees submit their timesheets. These documents record the total hours an employee has worked during the biweekly pay period. For remote teams, various online tools can streamline this process, ensuring that hours are accurately recorded and easily accessible to managers and the HR department. These technological solutions form an essential part of the broader global payroll system.

Step 3: Timesheet Approval and Payroll Processing

After the timesheets have been submitted, they are reviewed by managers or the HR department. Any discrepancies or issues can be addressed at this stage before the hours are approved for payroll processing. It's crucial to keep in mind that different countries might have varying regulations regarding overtime and maximum working hours. When dealing with an international team, understanding the ins and outs of expatriate payroll can be beneficial.

Step 4: Calculation of Pay

Once the hours are approved, the payroll staff will calculate the net pay for each employee. This calculation includes regular hours worked, overtime hours, and any deductions or additions such as tax withholdings, benefits, or bonuses. For international contractors, companies might need to leverage an Employer of Record (EOR) to handle these calculations accurately and in compliance with local labor laws.

Step 5: Paycheck Distribution

The final step involves issuing the paychecks. With the rise of remote and distributed teams, many companies opt for digital payment methods to deliver salaries. This process can be made easier and more efficient by following best practices on how to pay freelancers and other remote team members.

Advantages of Bi-weekly Pay

While choosing payment schedules might seem like a routine administrative decision, it holds significant implications for both businesses and employees. One popular choice among many organizations, particularly those with remote or distributed teams, is the biweekly pay schedule. Here, we explore some of the noteworthy advantages of this system.

Predictability and Consistency

Arguably one of the most significant advantages of biweekly pay is the predictability it offers. This pay schedule ensures that employees are paid every two weeks on a designated day, often a Friday. This regularity and consistency facilitate financial planning for employees, particularly for budgeting routine expenses, paying bills, or managing loan repayments.

The dependability of the biweekly pay becomes even more vital when organizations deal with international employees and contractors. Utilizing resources such as Employer of Record (EOR) can help streamline this process, guaranteeing consistent payroll services even in a global context.

Simplicity in Overtime Calculations

Another advantage of biweekly pay lies in the simplicity it brings to overtime calculations. For businesses with hourly employees, calculating overtime can be a complex task. The biweekly pay aligns well with the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) regulations, which stipulate that overtime is calculated on a weekly basis. As the FLSA's weekly overtime law states, nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked more than 40 in a week at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

Given that biweekly pay periods encompass two work weeks, this schedule simplifies the process of tracking and paying for overtime hours, making it easier for businesses to stay compliant with FLSA guidelines. This can be particularly beneficial in the context of global payroll, where managing overtime for employees in different countries can be challenging due to varying labor laws.

Reduced Processing Costs and Time

Biweekly pay, though more frequent than monthly pay or semi-monthly schedules, is less frequent than a weekly payroll. This lower frequency of payroll processing can lead to cost savings for businesses. Fewer paychecks per payroll mean less time spent on payroll preparation and potentially lower payroll costs related to payroll processing, a factor that can contribute to saving on payroll expenses.

In addition, businesses with remote or distributed teams can leverage various digital solutions to streamline the process further. Adopting strategies like implementing a multi-country payroll system can significantly enhance the efficiency of managing biweekly pay and minimize the associated administrative burden.

Biweekly Pay Challenges

Despite its many advantages, biweekly pay isn't without challenges. These include:

  • Cash Flow Management: Since the number of pay periods is not consistent month-to-month, businesses may find it harder to manage cash flow, particularly in months with three paychecks per payroll.
  • Employee Budgeting Issues: Similarly, employees might face challenges in managing their finances, especially if they are not used to the 'extra' paycheck in two months of the year.

Biweekly Pay vs. Semi-Monthly Pay

Choosing between a biweekly and semi-monthly pay system involves careful analysis. While both systems have their unique benefits and potential drawbacks, understanding their intricacies is crucial for selecting the most suitable one for your organization.

Biweekly Pay: Frequency and Predictability

In a biweekly pay system, employees are paid their wages every two weeks. This biweekly pay schedule results in 26 pay periods annually, ensuring a steady and predictable payout that aligns well with the weekly structure of most employees' work.

Biweekly pay can be particularly beneficial for businesses with hourly employees due to its ease of calculating overtime, and complying with the weekly overtime laws stipulated by the FLSA. Moreover, understanding how biweekly pay works is simple and straightforward for most employees, adding to the benefits of this system. Additionally, this biweekly payroll system also leads to two extra paychecks in a year, which might be advantageous for employees in managing their personal finances or handling unexpected expenses.

However, biweekly pay means that there might be some months with three biweekly paychecks, which can pose certain administrative challenges, including managing these "extra" pay periods. Nevertheless, these challenges can be effectively mitigated with proper planning and the use of robust payroll software systems.

On the flip side, it's important to remember that the biweekly payroll can pose certain administrative challenges, including managing months with three pay periods. Nevertheless, these challenges can be effectively mitigated with proper planning and the use of robust global payroll systems.

Semi-Monthly Pay: Consistency and Administration

A semi-monthly pay schedule involves employees receiving their paychecks twice a month, typically on the 15th and the last day of the month. This system results in a total of 24 pay periods per year, offering consistency, particularly from a financial management perspective.

From an organizational standpoint, the consistency of semi-monthly pay could lead to easier budgeting and cash flow management, particularly for smaller businesses. Moreover, it can reduce administrative costs, contributing to significant payroll savings.

However, one potential downside to this approach could be complications in overtime calculations for an hourly employee since the number of workdays in each pay period can vary. This might require more administrative effort or a comprehensive payroll system to ensure accuracy.

Furthermore, semi-monthly paychecks might fall on a weekend or holiday, causing potential delays in payments. Clear communication and policies can help alleviate this challenge.

Making the Choice: Biweekly vs. Semi-Monthly

When deciding on a payroll schedule, organizations need to consider various factors including employee preferences, ease of overtime calculation, the regularity of pay dates, and their own cash flow needs.

Moreover, compliance with local regulations is another crucial aspect that influences this decision. Organizations with a global workforce must ensure their payroll schedule aligns with country-specific payroll regulations.

Whether you opt for a biweekly or semi-monthly payroll, it is important to consider how it will impact both your organization and your employees. In doing so, you can help foster a financially secure and content workforce, contributing positively to your payroll performance metrics.

How Organizations Decide on Pay Cycles

Ultimately, the choice of a payroll cycle is influenced by various factors. Here are some considerations that influence this decision:

  • Employee Preferences: Some employees may prefer a certain pay schedule over others based on their personal financial planning.
  • Regulations: State or country-specific payroll regulations may dictate the minimum frequency for wage payments.
  • Administrative Costs: The frequency of payroll can impact the cost and time spent on payroll processing.

Manage Global Payroll With Skuad

In the ever-evolving global work landscape, understanding and implementing the right payroll system is key to fostering a happy, financially secure workforce. Whether you choose a biweekly or semi-monthly payroll, it's crucial to align your system with the needs of your employees and your organizational cash flow requirements, all while ensuring compliance with local regulations.

That's where Skuad comes into play. As a leading Employer of Record platform, Skuad enables organizations to effectively manage payroll across over 160 countries. Skuad's powerful and intuitive platform simplifies the intricacies of global payroll, ensuring that employees receive their pay accurately and on time.

Skuad takes the stress out of payroll compliance. By keeping abreast with the ever-changing payroll and employment laws across different countries, Skuad ensures that your organization remains fully compliant, thereby mitigating risks and fostering trust among your employees.

Moreover, the platform's capabilities go beyond payroll, providing comprehensive solutions for hiring, onboarding, and managing remote teams globally. This holistic approach ensures that organizations can focus on what matters most - their core business and team productivity.

Need to know more? Contact Skuad Experts today.


How do you calculate biweekly pay?

You can calculate biweekly pay by multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours or days you are paid.

Does Biweekly Pay Affect Taxes?

No, an employee's tax responsibilities cannot be affected by the pay period because tax liabilities is based on the total amount an employee had earned in a particular tax year.











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