Should you adopt a semimonthly payroll schedule for your company? That's a great question.
Only 18% of employers use a semimonthly pay frequency, making it the second least popular pay schedule after monthly (used by only 4.4% of employers).
Does that mean it's an awful pay schedule to use?
But what kind of business setup is best for a semimonthly payroll schedule? We’ll cover all that and more, so let’s dive in!
What Is a Semimonthly Pay Schedule?
A semimonthly payment schedule is where you pay workers twice a month on specific pay dates—usually on the 1st and the 15th or on the 15th and the last day of the month. That means employees get 24 paychecks every year.
Now that we’ve answered this burning question, let’s take a closer look at the 2023 semimonthly payroll schedule calendar.
Semimonthly Pay Schedule 2024 Template
Here’s a free printable 2024 Semimonthly Payment Schedule Template you can use with Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Just click “Make a copy” to start working on your own.
Semimonthly Pay Schedule 2023 Template
Here’s a free printable 2023 Semimonthly Payment Schedule Template you can use with Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Just click "Make a copy" to start working on your own.
Note: If a pay date falls on a weekend or holiday, it's shifted to the Friday beforehand. That way, there will never be a delay in paying your team.
How Do You Calculate Semimonthly Pay?
The calculation for semimonthly pay differs for salaried employees and hourly workers.
For Salaried Employees
For example, say you pay a salaried employee $72,000 annually using a semimonthly payroll calendar. You’ll divide $72,000 by 24 to get $3,000. In other words, you’ll pay them a gross salary of $3,000 each pay period.
For Hourly Workers
Calculating the semimonthly pay for hourly workers differs from salaried employees because hourly employees don't receive a fixed annual salary.
So how do you calculate their wages?
You follow the semimonthly pay frequency, but pay periods can end in the middle of a workweek. That means employees will get different amounts every paycheck, and the math is a little trickier for you.
For example, let’s say you run a restaurant and you have an employee that works 44 hours in a typical workweek. You’re scheduled to pay them on March 30. But that’s a Thursday—right in the middle of their workweek! So, what do you do? You split their paycheck over two periods.
Among those 44 hours, 28 hours fall in one pay period (before March 30), while 16 hours in the current one (after March 30).
Since anything over 40 is considered overtime hours, you pay for 28 regular hours in the previous pay period and 12 regular and 4 overtime hours in the current pay period. Add that to the other hours they worked in each pay period—and you’ll have their paycheck.
Just remember, it’s super important to pay overtime correctly or else you could face fines.
This might not sound simple. And it’s not—especially when you’ve got more than two employees. That’s why we recommend using a payroll solution like Hourly, which adds up hours and calculates pay automatically for you. What’s more, they’ll send out paychecks too!
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Semimonthly Pay Schedule?
As with all things business, this type of payment schedule comes with its pros and cons:
Pros of a Semimonthly Pay Schedule
Here are the advantages:
- It’s much easier for salaried employees to understand. You pay employees on specific semi-monthly pay dates, so they can plan their budgets around those dates.
- It solves the problem of leap years. While other payment schedules have to adjust for the occasional leap year, a semimonthly payment schedule remains unaffected. For February, the final check date or end date will be the last day of the month—whether that's on the 28th or the 29th.
- Fewer pay periods. A semimonthly payment schedule has fewer pay periods than weekly and even biweekly schedules. So you can save a lot on payroll processing costs. Or, you can use Hourly—which gives you unlimited payroll runs.
Cons of a Semimonthly Payroll Schedule
Here are the disadvantages:
- Paycheck delays are possible. Paydays may fall on a holiday (like Memorial Day or Independence Day) or weekend since you pay workers on specific dates each month. As a result, employees may experience payment delays during such days even if they’ve set up direct deposit. However, you can combat this by shifting the payday to the previous business day. Still, that’s one extra thing to remember.
- Harder to calculate pay for hourly workers. It can get really complicated to pay hourly workers since a pay period might end right in the middle of their workweek.
- Some U.S. states don't allow employers to pay their workers using a semimonthly payment schedule. For example, New Hampshire employers must pay workers weekly or biweekly. If they want to use semimonthly or monthly pay schedules, they have to get approval from the New Hampshire Department of Labor (NHDOL) first.
Semimonthly vs. Biweekly Pay Schedule
In biweekly schedules, you pay an employee after every two weeks—typically on the same day of the week. With 52 weeks in a typical year, it comes down to 26 paychecks every year.
This difference in paychecks per year differentiates a semimonthly pay schedule (24 paychecks) from a biweekly schedule since the extra two paychecks mean you have two months with extra paydays.
So, which one is better?
If you have a consistent monthly income, you may find it easy to budget with semimonthly pay schedules because paychecks remain consistent throughout the year. On the other hand, a biweekly pay schedule simplifies overtime pay calculation for hourly workers since workweeks align with the pay periods. Put simply, a semimonthly pay schedule is the way to go if your employees are primarily salaried. But if you’ve got hourly workers, biweekly sounds better.
Your Payroll Schedule Matters
That said, a semimonthly payment schedule is one of the best options if you have salaried employees. You just divide their yearly salary by 24. Get started today with our free template!