Q: What Is a Pay Period?

Pay periods are the time that passes between one payroll run and the next. When calculating a paycheck, a pay period is the period of time for which you pay them in that paycheck.

What’s the typical length of a pay period?

The typical length of a pay period vary, or pay schedule, can vary. The most common pay schedules used in the US are:

  • Weekly;
  • Bi-weekly (every other week);
  • Semi-monthly (twice a month); and
  • Monthly.

Am I required to use one pay period over another?

Many states have requirements on which pay schedules you can use.

For a full rundown of all state pay period and pay schedule laws, visit this US Department of Labor page.

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