Definition of Pay Periods


What is a Pay Period?

pay period defines how often employees are paid (pay frequency) and how many regular paychecks they’ll receive in a year. An employee’s pay frequency will also determine the portion of monthly deductions that are taken from each paycheck.

Types of Pay Periods

Type Pay Frequency # of paychecks in year
Semi-monthly Twice a month on two specific days of the month, e.g., 15th and 30th. 24 paychecks
Bi-weekly Every two weeks on a specific day of the week, e.g., every other Friday. 26 paychecks
Weekly Once a week on a specific day of the week, e.g., each Friday. 52 paychecks
Monthly Once a month on specific date, e.g., 30th. 12 paychecks


Pay periods define the number of days of work for which each employee is paid on each paycheck.


Also see:

How Often Should You Run Payroll?