How often do you need to pay your employees? When you choose a paycheck frequency for your business, you need to follow state and federal payment laws. Learn about pay frequency requirements by state and federal payday laws.
State and federal pay frequency requirements
To stay compliant, you must know federal and state pay frequency laws like the back of your hand. So, how often do employees have to be paid?
Brush up on federal and state rules for pay frequency below to find out.
Federal pay frequency laws
There is no federal law that says how often you must pay employees. That’s left up to the state laws. But, you must keep a consistent pay frequency.
You cannot change an employee’s pay frequency whenever you feel like it. For example, you can’t pay employees weekly, then all of a sudden change the frequency to monthly.
But, you can change your pay frequency in some situations. You might be able to change your frequency if:
- You have a legitimate business reason
- The change is permanent
- You’re not avoiding overtime pay or minimum wage
- Wages aren’t unreasonably delayed
You can use different pay frequencies based on department, location, or pay type (i.e., salary or hourly wages). But, make sure to fairly and consistently pay all employees.
Pay frequency requirements by state
State laws determine how often you should pay employees. Of course, each state sets unique regulations.
Almost every state has pay frequency laws. The only states that don’t have specific pay frequency laws are Alabama and Florida.
Many states require a weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly payroll. This is the minimum frequency for paying employees. Take a look at how each common payroll interval works:
- Weekly: Once a week (52 paychecks per year)
- Biweekly: Once every other week (26 paychecks per year)
- Semimonthly: Twice per month (24 paychecks per year)
- Monthly: Once per month (12 paychecks per year)
You can always pay employees more frequently than the state requires. For example, if the state requires a semimonthly payroll, you can also pay employees biweekly and weekly. Just make sure you pay employees at least semimonthly.
Some states have more complicated rules. The laws go further than the standard weekly, biweekly, etc. For example, some states require employers to pay employees every so many days.
Take a look at our pay frequency laws by state chart below to find out your state’s requirements. If there’s an “X” in the box under a pay frequency, the state requires you to use at least that pay frequency. If your state has more than one “X,” you might be able to use either pay frequency, depending on restrictions.
|Alabama||No specified regulations.|
|Arizona||X||There must be two or more paydays per month, no more than 16 days apart.|
|California||X||X||X||X||Pay frequency depends on the occupation.|
|Connecticut||X||Employers can use a less frequent pay period if the labor commissioner approves them.|
|Florida||No specified regulations.|
|Hawaii||X||X||Employees can choose to be paid monthly under a special election procedure. The Director of Labor and Industrial Relations may also give exceptions to the semimonthly pay requirement. Requirements only apply to private sector employees.|
|Illinois||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|Iowa||X||X||X||X||As long as you pay employees at least monthly and no longer than 12 days from the end of the period when wages were earned (excluding Sunday and legal holidays), you can use any frequency. This can be waived with a written agreement. Employees on commission have different requirements.|
|Louisiana||X||X||The semimonthly pay frequency applies to businesses with 10 or more employees engaged in manufacturing, mining, or boring for oil and to every public service corporation. Payment is required at least twice per calendar month.|
|Maine||X||You must pay employees at least every 16 days.|
|Massachusetts||X||X||You must pay hourly employees either weekly or biweekly. You can pay salaried employees semi-monthly and, if they voluntarily agree, monthly.|
|Michigan||X||X||X||X||Pay frequency depends on the occupation.|
|Minnesota||X||X||Employers must pay employees at least once every 31 days. Employers must pay transitory employees at least every 15 days. Public service corporations doing business within the state must pay employees at least semi-monthly, within 15 days of earning the wages.|
|Mississippi||X||X||These requirements apply to every manufacturing business in the state with 50 or more employees and employing public labor and to every public service corporation doing business in the state. If applicable, you must pay employees every two weeks or twice during each calendar month.|
|Montana||If there is no established time when wages are payable, the pay period is assumed to be semimonthly.|
|Nebraska||The employer can choose the payday.|
|Nevada||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|New Hampshire||X||X||X||X||Must pay employees weekly or biweekly; semimonthly or monthly are available with written permission of the NHDOL.|
|New Jersey||X||X||Employers can pay executive, supervisory, and other special classifications of employees once per month.|
|New Mexico||X||X||The monthly pay applies only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|New York||X||X||Weekly payday applies to manual workers. Semimonthly payday is available for clerical and other workers, and upon approval for manual workers.|
|North Carolina||The pay period can be daily, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly.|
|Pennsylvania||The employer can designate the payday.|
|Rhode Island||X||X||X||Most employers must pay employees weekly. Childcare providers have the option to be paid every two weeks. Employers who meet certain requirements can request permission to pay employees less frequently than weekly but at least twice per month.|
|South Carolina||Employers with 5 or more employees must tell new employees the time and place of payment and wages via written notice and stick to that frequency.|
|Texas||X||X||X||A monthly pay frequency is allowed for employees exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. Other employees must be paid at least twice per month. If using semi-monthly, the pay period must contain as nearly as possible an equal number of days.|
|Utah||X||X||Employees with a yearly salary can be paid monthly.|
|Vermont||X||X||X||Employers can use biweekly and semimonthly paydays with written notice.|
|Virginia||X||X||X||X||Employees whose weekly wages are more than 150% of the average weekly wage of the state can be paid monthly if they agree to it.|
|Wisconsin||X||Most employers must pay workers all wages earned at least monthly, with no more than 31 days between pay periods. Employees engaged in logging, those engaged in farm labor, unclassified employees, part-time firefighters and part-time emergency medical technicians, school employees, and employees covered under a valid collective bargaining agreement may be exempt from this requirement.|
Keep in mind that state laws are subject to change. Before you select a pay frequency, make sure you know your state’s payday laws. Check with your state or the Department of Labor for more information about pay frequency laws.
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This article is updated from its original publication date of August 8, 2018.
This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.