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Payroll Calendar for 2023/2024

  • Payroll
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 05/16/2023

an hr manager using a payroll calendar to budget and plan for compensation expenses

Table of Contents

A payroll calendar can help companies to budget and plan for compensation expenses over the entire year. Whether you pay employees biweekly, semi-monthly, once per week, or just once per month, you'll need to schedule dates and calculate the number of pay periods in a year to ensure the process runs smoothly. For U.S.-based businesses, payroll departments will need to pay attention to major holidays when banks may be closed, and the timing of pay dates throughout the year.

U.S. Calendars
2023 Payroll Calendar 2024 Payroll Calendar

What Is a Payroll Calendar?

When doing payroll, companies typically adhere to a specific schedule, such as biweekly pay dates. Scheduling payroll dates in a calendar year prior to the beginning of the year helps employers to budget properly and maintain their compliance with wage payment laws and regulations. Detailed calendars can incorporate not just actual pay dates, but additional information such as pay period end dates, time sheet due dates and the workdays covered by each pay period.

A payroll calendar helps to ensure that all payroll-related administration is completed on time and payroll delays are avoided. Drawing up a calendar in advance helps to identify when adjustments to the payroll process may be needed. Employers may also need to communicate the changes in advance to employees to set expectations for changes in pay dates.

Examples of where adjustments may be needed include when a review of the upcoming calendar also shows that one or more paydays fall on holidays. Depending on which day the final pay date of the annual period occurs, a payroll run may need to stretch into the next calendar year. Other adjustments may also be required, such as the three pay period months that may occur with a biweekly pay period schedule.

How Many Pay Periods Are in a Year?

When preparing a payroll calendar, you will first determine how frequently your company will issue paychecks. Bi-weekly pay periods are the most common, but depending on pay frequency laws, business needs and employee preferences, you may choose to pay employees on a semi-monthly, monthly, or even weekly basis. Prior to finalizing a payroll calendar, employers should also check for applicable state or local laws or regulations to determine pay frequency restrictions.

Biweekly Payroll Calendar

Employers using a biweekly pay schedule will pay employees on the same day, typically a Friday, every other week. Biweekly processing requires the flexibility to handle a third payroll run in some months. Generally, there are 26 biweekly pay periods in a year, but depending on how the days of the week fall, there could be 27 pay periods. In some months, the regular pay date will occur three times rather than two. As a result, the payroll calendar should be reviewed before the start of the year to allow for proper planning.

Semi-monthly Payroll Calendar

When following a semi-monthly payroll calendar, pay periods occur on the same date, twice each month, such as the 15th and the 30th or 31st. Payroll calendars may need to be adjusted when the normal pay date falls on a weekend or a holiday when banks are closed. Typically, paychecks are sent on the closest business date to the established pay date, except where state law dictates otherwise.

Monthly Payroll Calendar

For monthly pay periods, employees would receive twelve pay distributions, once per month on a pre-determined date. This could simply be the last business day of the month, or another date that works best after considering factors such as the payroll department's workload, employee preferences, company cash flow, and state pay frequency requirements. A payroll calendar can be used to identify the payroll date for each month, working around holidays and weekends.

Weekly Payroll Calendar

Processing weekly payroll carries a higher administrative burden but can also increase employee satisfaction and may be required for certain industries in specific states. If payroll is processed every week, year-round, this generally results in 52 pay periods, depending on the date of the last pay period, which may shift into the next year.

Scheduled Payroll Can Make Business Simpler

A payroll calendar serves many purposes, from providing a visual tool that helps organize the payroll process, to setting deadlines for timecard submission and communicating upcoming pay dates. A payroll calendar can also assist when making decisions about cash flow and operational expenditures. Scheduling pay dates with your payroll services provider can also lead to improved planning and budgeting. When you know payroll dates for the year, you can take steps to also ensure that you have the necessary staffing and financial resources in place to get your paychecks out on time.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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