What Are the Advantages of a Semi-Monthly Pay Schedule?

What Are the Advantages of a Semi-Monthly Pay Schedule?
March 22, 2023
6 min read
March 22, 2023
6 min read

Businesses, whether small, medium, or large, need a payment schedule as long as there are employees. From pay cycle, pay day, pay period to pay schedule, there are so many payroll-related terminologies that business owners must understand. This is the only means of remaining at the top of situations. 

However, choosing a pay schedule is not always easy for many reasons. That is the problem this article aims to solve. It x-rays one of the pay schedules: a semi-monthly pay schedule and highlights its pros and cons, including other modalities.    

How Does Semi-Monthly Pay Schedule Work?

A semi-monthly pay schedule divides employees' annual salaries into 24 pay periods. Each pay period covers a half-month of work. For instance, employees earning a yearly salary of $60,000 will receive $2,500 every semi-monthly pay period.

Advantages of Semi-Monthly Salary

Advantages of Semi-Monthly Salary

Semi-monthly pay schedules have become increasingly popular among employers and employees alike. Here are some advantages of a semi-monthly salary:

More Frequent Payments

Employees receive paychecks twice a month with a semi-monthly pay schedule. This arrangement can help them manage their finances more effectively.

Better Budgeting

With more frequent paychecks, employees can budget more effectively and avoid financial strain at the end of the month.

Improved Cash Flow

Semi-monthly pay schedules can help improve employer and employee cash flow. For employers, it can help to manage their cash flow and ensure that payroll expenses are spread out over the month.

Reduced Overtime Expenses

Semi-monthly pay schedules can help reduce overtime expenses. For example, a bi-weekly pay schedule can sometimes result in three monthly pay periods, resulting in overtime pay. With semi-monthly pay schedules, this is less likely to happen.

Easier for Accounting

Semi-monthly pay schedules can be easier for accounting purposes. In addition, managing and reconciling expenses can be more accessible when the pay schedule is consistent and regular.

Increased Employee Satisfaction

With more frequent paychecks, employees may be more satisfied with their jobs and feel more valued by their employers.

Compliance With Some State Laws

In some states, there are specific requirements for pay periods. Semi-monthly pay schedules can help employers comply with these laws.

Disadvantages of Semi-Monthly Salary

Disadvantages of Semi-Monthly Salary

Sure, there are many advantages to using a semi-monthly pay schedule, but there are also a few disadvantages. Here are some of the downsides of using a semi-monthly pay schedule:

Difficulty With Cash Flow Management 

With two pay periods per month, there may be less flexibility in cash flow management for both employers and employees. This can be particularly challenging for employers with tight budgets. Likewise, it may not help some employees who are not good at saving.

Administrative Burden 

Managing a semi-monthly pay schedule can be more complicated than a monthly-pay cycle. As a result, more time and effort go into the payroll process and ensuring that employees' payments are accurate.

Confusion With Pay Periods

With a semi-monthly pay schedule, employees may be confused about which pay period they are being paid for. This can lead to questions and concerns, which can be time-consuming.

Increased Payroll Costs

Payroll expenses can be higher with a semi-monthly pay schedule, as there are more pay periods to process each year. This can result in increased administrative costs for employers.

Difficulty With Benefits Administration 

Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are typically deducted from each paycheck. However, with a semi-monthly pay schedule, there may be confusion or difficulty in administering these deductions.

Bi-Weekly Vs. Semi-Monthly Vs. Monthly Pay Periods

When it comes to paying employees, there are several options available. Out of these options, let's highlight the difference between semi-monthly and bi-weekly pay and compare the two to monthly pay.

Bi-Weekly Pay Periods:

  • Employees are paid every two weeks, resulting in 26 pay periods per year.
  • Each pay period typically covers 80 hours of work.
  • Some months may have three pay periods, which can be advantageous for employees but can also increase payroll expenses for employers.
  • Bi-weekly pay periods can be a good fit for businesses with hourly employees or working part-time or freelance.

Semi-Monthly Pay Periods:

  • Employees get paid twice a month - for most, the 15th and 30th/31st.
  • Each pay period typically covers 86.67 hours of work.
  • Semi-monthly pay periods can be a good fit for salaried employees, as they offer a more consistent payment schedule.
  • Semi-monthly pay periods can also help employers comply with state laws that require pay periods to be twice a month.

Monthly Pay Periods:

  • Employees get paid once a month - most commonly on the last day of the month.
  • Each pay period typically covers 173.33 hours of work.
  • Monthly pay periods can be a good fit for businesses with salaried employees who work full-time and have a consistent schedule.
  • Monthly pay periods can also benefit employers who want to simplify payroll and reduce administrative costs.

How Do You Calculate Semi-Monthly Wages?

How Do You Calculate Semi-Monthly Wages

Just as you learn to calculate monthly income from weekly salary, it is essential to learn how to calculate monthly payments from semi-monthly wages. Luckily, calculating semi-monthly paychecks is not simple. It only involves a few steps and some basic math skills.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Determine the employee's annual salary: For example, if an employee earns $60,000 annually, this is the starting point for calculating their semi-monthly wages.
  2. Divide the annual salary by 24: Since there are 24 pay periods in a year for semi-monthly pay periods, divide the yearly salary by 24. In this example, $60,000 divided by 24 equals $2,500.
  3. Calculate the gross pay for each pay period: To determine the gross amount for each pay period, divide the semi-monthly amount by two. In this example, the semi-monthly amount is $2,500; thus, for each pay period, gross pay stands at $1,250.
  4. Adjust for any pre-tax deductions: If the employee has any pre-tax deductions, such as for a 401(k) plan, subtract the amount of these deductions from the gross pay for each pay period.
  5. Calculate taxes and other deductions: Finally, calculate taxes and any other deductions, such as health insurance premiums or wage garnishments, to determine the employee's net pay for each pay period.

By following these steps, employers can easily calculate their employees' semi-monthly wages. 


What is the best pay schedule for small businesses?

First, you must have the best payroll tips to decide the best pay schedule for a small business. Remember, what is most suitable for one small business is not necessarily what suits another. This is because several factors and peculiarities come to play here. Let's look at some of these factors.

  • Cash flow: Bi-weekly or semi-monthly pay schedules may be easier for small businesses with limited cash flow.
  • Administrative resources: A monthly pay schedule may be the best option if the business has limited organizational resources.
  • Employee preferences: Employees may prefer a particular pay schedule, and it's essential to consider their needs and preferences when choosing a pay schedule.

What is the best pay schedule for independent contractors?

Independent contractors typically have a different payment structure than regular employees. Therefore, the best pay schedule for independent contractors will depend on the terms of their contract. Here are some things to consider:

  • The contract terms: The contract should specify the payment terms, including the frequency of payments and the payment structure.
  • The nature of the work: The payment schedule should align with the nature of the work. For example, if the work is project-based, it may be better to pay the contractor upon completion.
  • Cash flow: Contractors may prefer a payment schedule that aligns with their cash flow needs.

 Is it better to get paid monthly or semi-monthly?

Whether it's better to get paid monthly or semi-monthly depends on individual preferences and financial situations. However, here are some things to consider:

  • Budgeting: Monthly payments may be more manageable since they provide a more substantial lump sum at once. However, semi-monthly payments may be better for those who need more frequent payments to manage their finances.
  • Cash flow: Semi-monthly payments may be more beneficial for those who need a more consistent cash flow.
  • Paycheck size: Monthly payments typically result in a larger paycheck, while semi-monthly payments are smaller but more frequent.

How do you explain semi-monthly pay to employees?

To explain semi-monthly pay to employees, you should point out its key features. Let employees know that they will receive their paychecks two times a month, most likely on the 15th and 30th or 31st. You may as well add that the schedule provides more frequent payments, which may help them manage their finances better. 

It's important to point out that their paycheck amount will be smaller than if paid monthly, but they will receive more frequent payments.

Do you pay more taxes when paid semi-monthly?

No, the pay schedule does not affect the amount of taxes you pay. Your income, deductions, and tax bracket determine the amount of taxes you pay. The pay schedule only affects the frequency of your payments, not the amount of taxes you owe.

Final Thoughts on Pros and Cons of Semi-Monthly Payroll

Finally, a payroll schedule is a must for any business. However, you must first consider the pros and cons of different pay schedules. Doing this lets you decide what benefits your business most and which schedule best delivers those benefits. Therefore, factors such as cash flow, administrative resources, and employee preferences must be top priorities in considering a semi-monthly pay schedule.

It's important to note that while semi-monthly pay periods offer a more consistent payment schedule, it's crucial to ensure you pay employees fairly and in compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws. Employers should also communicate the pay schedule and any changes to employees to avoid confusion or errors in payment.