Is semi-monthly and bi weekly the same thing?

Biweekly payroll = 26 paychecks per year. Semi-monthly payroll = 24 paychecks per year.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Is semi-monthly and bi weekly the same thing?

The difference between semi-monthly and bi weekly is that biweekly payroll is paid twenty six time annually (per year); semi-monthly is paid twenty four times per year. In simple terms:

  • biweekly payroll = 26 times per year
  • semi-monthly payroll = 24 times per year

Weekly payday laws require employees to be paid every week, and monthly payday laws require employees to be paid every month. Bi-weekly payday laws require employees to be paid every two weeks, and semi-monthly payday laws require employees to be paid twice a month.

California Payday Law

California payday laws require employees to be paid semi-monthly, so twice each calendar month on a regular date designated as paydays. The employee’s contract must have the day, time, and location of payment in it.

California Labor Code Section 204 requires:

  • Wages earned between the 1st and 15th of any calendar month must be paid no later than the 26th of that same month.
  • Wages earned between the 16th and the final day of the month must be paid by the 10th of the following month.

Any other payroll periods must be paid within seven calendar days of the end of the payroll period when the wages were earned.

There are the following exceptions:

  • Exempt employees such as administrative, executive, and professional employees may be paid one a month prior to the 26th day of the month if the entire amount for that month (including the unearned portion) is paid at that time. These employees may also be paid more frequently if the employer wishes.

  • Farm laborers must be paid at least once a day on a designated business day. These wages must include all wages up to and including the fourth day before payday.

  • Employees who are boarded and lodged by their employers such as domestic services or horticulture must be paid once each calendar month on a designated day. No two paydays may be 31 days apart, and all wages earned up to the regular payday must be included.

  • Employees who work in a motor vehicle dealer and are paid commission may be paid once a month on a designated day. If the workers are part of a collective bargaining agreement which regulates the date of pay, this must be adhered to.

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