When you pay employees, you must give them their wages at regular, consistent intervals. But when you choose the pay frequency, you need to follow federal and state payment laws. Learn the pay frequency requirements by state, plus the federal regulations.
Federal and state payday laws
First, we’ll look at federal pay frequency laws. Then, we’ll look at pay frequency laws by state.
Federal pay frequency laws
No federal law says how often you must pay employees. That’s left up to the state laws. But, federal laws do say you must keep a consistent pay frequency.
You cannot change an employee’s pay frequency whenever you feel like it. For example, you can’t pay employees weekly one month and monthly the next.
But, you can change your pay frequency in some situations. You might be able to change the frequency if all of the following apply:
- You have a legitimate business reason
- The change is permanent
- You are not avoiding overtime or minimum wages
- You don’t unreasonably delay payment of wages
You can pay different wages based on department, location, or pay type (i.e., salary or hourly wages). Just be sure to fairly and consistently pay employees. Don’t single out any employees.
Pay frequency requirements by state
State laws indicate how often you should pay employees. Of course, each state sets unique regulations.
Almost every state has pay frequency laws. The only states that don’t have pay frequency laws are Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina.
Many states require a monthly, semimonthly, biweekly, or weekly payroll. This is the minimum frequency for paying employees. You can always pay employees more frequently than the state requires. For example, if the state requires a semimonthly payroll, that is not the only pay frequency you can choose. You can also pay employees biweekly and weekly. Just make sure you pay employees at least semimonthly.
But, some states have more complicated rules. The laws go further than the standard weekly, biweekly, etc. For examples, some states require employers to pay employees every so many days.
Below is a chart of every state and their pay frequency laws. The four common pay frequencies are listed. If there is an X in the box, that means the state requires you to use at least that pay frequency. If there is more than one X, you might be able to use either pay period, assuming there are no restrictions. The far right column contains notes about pay frequency law complexities for the states.
|Alabama||No specified regulations.|
|Arizona||X||There must be two or more paydays per month, not more than 16 days apart.|
|California||X||X||X||The pay frequency depends on occupation.|
|Connecticut||X||Employers can use a less frequent pay period if approved by the labor commissioner.|
|District of Columbia||X|
|Florida||No specified regulations.|
|Hawaii||X||X||Employees can choose to be paid on a monthly basis under a special election procedure. The Director of Labor and Industrial Relations may also give exceptions to the semimonthly pay requirement. Requirements only apply to private sector employees.|
|Illinois||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|Iowa||X||X||X||X||Any pay schedule is allowed as long as employees are paid at least monthly and no later than 12 days from the end of the period when the wages were earned (excluding Sundays and legal holidays). This can be waived with a written agreement. Employees on commission have different requirements.|
|Louisiana||X||X||The semimonthly pay frequency applies to businesses employing 10 or more employees engaged in manufacturing, mining, or boring for oil, and to every public service corporation. Payment is required at least twice per calendar month.|
|Maine||X||You must pay employees at least every 16 days.|
|Michigan||X||X||X||X||The pay frequency depends on employee occupation.|
|Minnesota||X||X||Employers are required to pay employees at least once every 31 days. Employers must pay transitory employees at least every 15 days. Public service corporations doing business within the state must pay employees at least every 15 days.|
|Mississippi||X||X||These requirements apply to every manufacturing business in the state with 50 or more employees and employing public labor, and to every public service corporation doing business in the state.|
|Montana||If there is not an established time when wages are payable, the pay period is assumed to be semimonthly.|
|Nebraska||The employer can designate the payday.|
|Nevada||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|New Jersey||X||X||Employers can pay executive, supervisory, and other special classifications of employees once per month.|
|New Mexico||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees.|
|New York||X||X||Weekly payday applies to manual workers. Semimonthly payday for other workers and upon approval for manual workers.|
|North Carolina||No pay frequency is specified. The pay period can be daily, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly.|
|Pennsylvania||The employer can designate the payday.|
|Rhode Island||X||X||X||Childcare providers have the option to be paid every two weeks. Employers that meet certain requirements can request permission to pay employees less frequently than weekly, but at least twice per month.|
|South Carolina||No specified regulations. Employers with five or more employees must give notice of the pay frequency at the time of hire.|
|Texas||X||X||A monthly pay frequency is allowed for employees exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA.|
|Utah||X||X||Employees with a yearly salary can be paid monthly.|
|Vermont||X||X||X||Employers can use biweekly and semimonthly paydays with written notice.|
|Virginia||X||X||X||The monthly pay requirements apply only to executive, administrative, and professional employees. Employees whose weekly wages are more than 150% of the average weekly wage of the state can be paid monthly as long as they agree to it.|
State laws are subject to change. Make sure you double check state laws before you choose a pay frequency.
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This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.