Payroll Tip – How Often Do I Have to Pay My Employees?

Many business owners feel that they can pay their employes “whenever” they want and that is true to a point.  Business owners can pay their employees whenever they want as long as the “whenever” meets the laws of the state their business resides in.

As a business owner you probably feel “in control” when it comes to setting a payroll schedule for the people you hire.  Certainly you have options, you can issue payroll on a:

  • weekly
  • bi-weekly {every other week}
  • semi-monthly {twice a month, perhaps on the 1st and the 15th}
  • or a monthly basis

While there is no federal laws that require how often you pay your employees, the payroll schedule you choose MUST conform to the requirements of the state that your business is located in.

Most states require that every employer has to pay all of the wages due to an employee on a regular payroll schedule, which is determined by you the business owner – BUT you must notify the employees of how frequently you intend to pay them.  A “regular schedule” means that you must consistently pay your employees using whatever frequency you choose, in other words you can’t just randomly issue a payroll check.

Many states also tell a business owner how much of a “holdback” they can take.  Meaning that if you decide your workweek starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday and that you will pay your employees on the Friday AFTER the end of the work week; you are holding back a week’s worth of pay.

A word of caution – a business can get into trouble if it doesn’t pay it’s employees as often as the law requires – and I’m sure you don’t want or need that additional headache!  Believe it or not, but each state has their own set of rules and regulations {imagine that!}, in some states the rules are different depending upon the employees occupation.  In other words, setting a payroll schedule that is realistic for your company AND that conforms to state requirements can be a mess!

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a fairly detailed overview of employee payroll schedules by state, you can find State Payday Requirements here, the information provided is ONLY an overview of general information – you should most definitely contact your state department of labor for all of the details!

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