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Pay Frequency – Timing Matters


To pay Weekly or Biweekly (or some other frequency), that is the question.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) does not specify any sort of frequency in which employees should be paid minimum wages or the overtime compensation it calls for.  Instead the language states that “Wages required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered.”  While this seems vague, the DOL takes this principal seriously.  For example, if an employee fails to record time worked or submit a timesheet, and the employer is aware that work was performed, the employer must still pay the FLSA required wages on the regular payday for that pay period.  Wages may not be delayed until the next payday.  In the event compensation, such as overtime premium due to an incentive payment earned over a multiple week time frame, cannot be determined until after the end of the regular pay period, then payment may not be delayed for a period longer than is reasonably necessary, and in no event may be delayed beyond the subsequent payday.

Violating the timely payment of wages, may lead to everything from liquidated damages, interest on the late paid amounts, civil money penalties, and even criminal penalties for intentional, deliberate, voluntarily, or with reckless indifference.

When it comes to the dictation of the actual frequency, or the ‘regular payday’, as to which wages must be paid, we look to the state in which the employee is working for guidance.

There are three states that do not provide any laws or regulations as to the frequency and timing of payments. This means that the employer can dictate any frequency in which they want to pay.  These states include;

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • South Carolina.

There are 19 states that simply state the least frequent manner in which wages must be paid. Nine of those states are Monthly, and they include;

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Eight states are Semi-monthly;

  • Arkansas
  • DC
  • Georgia
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

One state is Biweekly;

  • West Virginia

And, one state is Weekly;

  • New Hampshire

As for the remainder of the states, the laws are a little more complicated, as there are exceptions for type of work performed, frequencies other than the standard, or some other criteria.  Use the table and notations below as a guide for specific information.

State Weekly Bi-weekly Semi-monthly Monthly
Alaska   X X
Arizona     X3  
Arkansas     X  
California X9 X9 X  
Colorado       X
Connecticut X4      
Delaware       X
District of Columbia     X  
Georgia     X  
Hawaii     X X5
Idaho       X
Illinois     X X2
Indiana   X X  
Iowa X  X6 X X
Kansas       X
Kentucky     X  
Louisiana   X X7  
Maine     X8  
Maryland   X X  
Massachusetts X X    
Michigan 9 X X X X
Minnesota     X10 X10
Mississippi   X11 X11  
Missouri X
Nebraska 13        
Nevada     X  X2
New Hampshire X      
New Jersey     X X21
New Mexico     X  X2
New York   X14    X14  
North Carolina 15        
North Dakota       X
Ohio     X  
Oklahoma     X  
Oregon       X
Pennsylvania 13        
Rhode Island X 16 X 16 X 16  
South Dakota       X
Tennessee     X  
Texas     X   X17
Utah       X18   X18
Vermont X    X19   X19  
Virginia   X 20 X20  X2
Washington   X
West Virginia X    
Wisconsin       X
Wyoming     X

1 Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. No regulations or not specified.

2 Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia. Monthly payday requirements for Executive, Administrative, and Professional personnel.

3 Arizona. Payday two or more days in a month, not more than 16 days apart.

4 Connecticut. Longer interval (up to monthly) permitted if approved by labor commissioner.

5 Hawaii. Employees may choose to be paid on a monthly basis under special election procedure. Director of labor and industrial relations also may grant exceptions to the general semi-monthly payday requirement. Payday requirement applies only to private sector employment.

6 Iowa. Any predictable and reliable pay schedule is permitted as long as employees get paid at least monthly and no later than 12 days (excluding Sundays and legal holidays) from the end of the period when the wages were earned. This can be waived by written agreement; employees on commission have different requirements.

7 Louisiana. Applicable to entities employing 10 or more employees that are engaged in manufacturing, mining, or boring for oil, and to every public service corporation. Payment is required no less than twice during each calendar month.

8 Maine. Payment due at regular intervals not to exceed 16 days.

9 California and Michigan. Frequency of payday depends on the occupation.

10 Minnesota. Under Minnesota statute, employers are required to pay their employees for all wages due at least once every 31 days. Employees engaged in transitory employment must be paid at intervals of not more than 15 days. Employees of “public service corporations doing business within this state” are required to be paid at least semimonthly the wages earned by them to within 15 days of the date of such payment, unless prevented by inevitable casualty.

11 Mississippi. Applicable to every entity engaged in manufacturing of any kind in the State employing 50 or more employees and employing public labor, and to every public service corporation doing business in the State. Payment is required once every two weeks or twice during each calendar month.

12 Montana. If there is not an established time period or time when wages are due and payable, the pay period is presumed to be semimonthly in length.

13 Nebraska. Payday designated by employer.

14 New York. Weekly payday for manual workers. Semi-monthly payday upon approval for manual workers and for clerical and other workers.

15 North Carolina. None specified, pay periods may be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly.

16 Rhode Island. Childcare providers shall have the option to be paid every two weeks.

Effective January 1, 2014, employers that meet certain requirements outlined in Rhode Island General Law Section 28-14-2.2 may petition the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training for permission to pay employees less frequently than weekly, but must pay wages at least twice a month.

17 Texas. Monthly payday for employees exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

18 Utah. Employees on a yearly salary can be paid on a monthly basis.

19 Vermont. Employers may implement bi-weekly and semi-monthly payday with written notice.

20 Virginia. Employees whose weekly wages total more than 150 percent of the average weekly wage of the Commonwealth may be paid monthly, upon agreement of each affected employee.

21 New Jersey. Employer may pay bona fide executive, supervisory and other special classifications of employees once per month.

Note: South Carolina. Employers with 5 or more employees are required to give written notice at the time of hiring to all employees advising them of their wages agreed upon, and the time and place of payment along with their expected hours of work. The employer must pay on the normal time and at the place of payment established by the employer.

 The information above was updated as of January 1st, 2016, but as laws can change at any time, be sure you check with your state for the most up to date information.

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