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Comparing Weekly and Biweekly Pay for Employees and Employers

Payroll schedules need to toe the line between appeasing employees and doing what’s right for your company’s bottom line.

 

The more frequent payroll occurs at your organization, the more strain you place on your operations team. Higher frequency payroll is also more expensive to maintain. Less frequency with payroll interferes with employee happiness, which can cost a significant amount in lost productivity and engagement over the long run.

 

So, what’s the right balance? How do weekly and biweekly pay schedules compare from an employer and employee perspective?

 

The pros and cons of a weekly pay schedule

 

Pro: Builds trust with employees and improves morale

Are you looking for a way to improve employee morale? Paying them more often might be the incentive to improve attendance rates and increase productivity. Employees in industries with lower pay or hourly wages especially value weekly if finances are tight.  

 

Con: Expensive for businesses

Weekly checks are not financially smart for small businesses. According to NFIB, individual deposit fees range from about $1.50 to $1.90 per deposit, on average. If you are a mid or large-sized business, then these fees add up quickly. The more often you cut checks or process payments, the more often you’ll pay these fees.

 

Pro: Flows better with hourly pay structure

Hourly employees may have inconsistent weekly work schedules, which can include overtime. Weekly pay matches this inconsistent flow of work. If an employee works overtime one week and less than full time the next, then weekly payroll ensures that the company pays the employee that valuable overtime faster.

 

Con: Time-consuming for businesses

Payroll administration needs to account for more than just the weekly payments provided to employees. Payroll also includes the following:

  • Wage garnishments
  • Pay raises and pay cuts
  • Sick pay
  • Paid time off
  • Taxes
  • Other compensation-related issues

It’s time-consuming to track all of these items down. The more often you pay your employees, the more time you are neglecting other necessary administrative duties. 

 

Pro: It’s easy to get into a payroll flow

With weekly payroll, you can be more organized. There is no confusion for when time cards need to be in or when payroll needs to be completed. You simply choose a particular day of the week and stick with it week in and week out. This goes a long way to ensure that the task is completed, without any deviation.

 

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The pros and cons of a bi-weekly pay schedule

 

Pro: Saves time

Paying employees biweekly instead of weekly requires an employer to process payroll only once every two weeks which reduces time spent on payroll processing and the likelihood of payroll errors, which can be equally time-consuming. Biweekly payroll may also make updating payroll records more convenient for human resources.  

 

Con: Your employees are paid less frequently

Payroll is closely associated with the morale of a workplace. Everyone likes when money hits their account. The more often employees feel the fruits of his or her labor, the higher morale may be. Paying employees more often, like daily or weekly, may also help alleviate financial burdens that employers may not be aware of. 

 

Pro: Simplifies Reconciliation

A weekly payroll means employees might not get around to cashing paper checks in a timely manner which provides more opportunity for outstanding checks. In fact, tracking live checks can be a burden for human resources.

A more frequent payroll can also make it more difficult to account for taxes. If payroll distributes taxes over a longer period - say bi-weekly as opposed to weekly - then the possibility of paying the IRS for mistakes lowers.

 

Pro: Saves money

If you use a payroll vendor, it’s likely they charge each time payroll runs. If you have dozens of employees on weekly schedules, these fees can add up. Depending on the amount of employees that are subscribed to direct deposit, the cost of paper checks could significantly lower with monthly pay vs. weekly pay.

 

 

So, what is the happy medium?

As you can see, there is a divide. Biweekly is more convenient for employers because of costs and time associated with payroll.  And, weekly pay tends to be more beneficial for employees who want their money as soon as they earn it. But what if a company could offer biweekly pay, and still allow their employees to be paid as often as they’d like?

 

Consider opting to use a set of software—like what DailyPay offers—that connects to your timekeeping system and allows your employees to be paid whenever they want, without having to change your payroll frequency. Or, create a strategy that addresses your employees' concerns. If you haven't, it might be time to survey your employees to see what concerns they have. While doing this, be sure to weigh your company's options when it comes to payroll by downloading our infographic that allows you to compare weekly and biweekly payroll schedules side-by-side.

 

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Written by Megan Wells

Megan Wells is a data journalist and content strategist based in San Francisco, California. Wells' work has appeared on Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, Motley Fool, and more. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women In Publishing conference.


employee attrition, Payroll, payroll costs, Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, payroll schedules

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