My wife’s work just changed to semimonthly from biweekly. We were given no notice. She has worked there 5 years. In January only one check was received on 1/12 and then one again on 2/1, with payments to continue every 1st and 15th of the month. She is salaried, and not an hourly earner.

I can give a lot of details, but let me first ask these questions:

  1. If the salary is “x” and it’s paid semimonthly, should she be receiving “x” over 24 paychecks in a year?

  2. What if the employer is only paying 23 checks in 2018 because they say that the 24th paycheck actually will be received in 2019? Does that make sense?

  3. If someone is a salaried employee at “x” per year, shouldn’t that person receive “x” within a calendar year? Or is the employer still meeting the salary if the last paycheck is received in the next calendar year?

  • When was the last check of 2017 received? – DJClayworth Feb 8 '18 at 18:29
  • The best thing to do is to talk to HR politely. They really should have addressed this. One thing that might have changed is the lag between the last day of the pay period and when the check is received. While it sounds like you might only get 23 paychecks in 2018, it may work out equally in the end. Once employment ceases, you will get another paycheck. – Pete B. Feb 8 '18 at 18:31
  • 12/29. So the 1/12 check neatly follows the previous biweekly schedule. In fact, checks started to reflect the higher amount needed to reach her salary (“x” / 24) on her December 1st paycheck. But until after 1/12, the pay schedule remained biweekly. – Mkpeterson Feb 8 '18 at 18:34
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    Pete, that’s what they said (HR/GM/Payroll is all one person). But to me, she’s still only receiving the 23 checks in 2018, amounting to her salary minus one check. – Mkpeterson Feb 8 '18 at 18:37
  • BTW, the 12/29 check was the 26th check on 2017. – Mkpeterson Feb 8 '18 at 18:38

Your pay stub should list the exact work dates that the paycheck covers. Look at your pay stubs before the change and after, and make sure that no days got missed. Talk to payroll or your boss if you see that there was a period of time that you didn’t get paid for.

Now that you are paid semi-monthly, the gross pay (before any deductions) listed on your pay stub multiplied by 24 should equal your annual salary. If it doesn’t, you should ask why.

Based on your comments, the 1st of the month check covers the 12th through the 25th of the previous month, and the check you get on the 15th covers the 26th through the 11th. If payday is a holiday, you get your check early. A 4-6 day delay between the end of pay period and the paycheck is not unusual.

Don’t worry so much about how many paychecks you are supposed to receive in a calendar year. Pay periods, pay dates, holidays, and the calendar are all arbitrary, and don’t always line up. If you are getting paid for every day and your paychecks are the correct amount, then everything is fine.

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    Probably also worth checking that the gross pay per day should be the same for all paychecks. – DJClayworth Feb 8 '18 at 19:09
  • Thanks for responding Ben. I’ve reviewed the period dates and the pay period to be payed ends a few days before the paycheck is received. Ex: 1/12 paycheck was for the period of 12/27-1/11. My concern centers around 2018 income meeting the agreeded annual salary. She has been payed biweekly with 26 paychecks per year for years now. This conversion seems to force one pay period out of the calander year. It’s like this conversion has allowed the employer to “bank” a pay period to pay at termination. Is that accurate? – Mkpeterson Feb 8 '18 at 19:21
  • Hey DJ, paystubs omit daily rate or hourly rate, it’s just the chunk of money called “salary” on there – Mkpeterson Feb 8 '18 at 19:22
  • @Mkpeterson Which dates does the 2/1 paycheck cover? – Ben Miller Feb 8 '18 at 19:24
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    @Mkpeterson In that case, it looks like you received your 1/12 check early; you should have gotten it on the 15th. You got it early because of MLK day. – Ben Miller Feb 8 '18 at 19:36

I have experienced this twice. This always happens when moving between pay periods that don't dovetail. If you went from every week to every two weeks it is easy. When you go from monthly to every two weeks, or from every two weeks to semi-monthly there will be either a large check or a small check during the transition period.

In your case there will be the proper number of checks in 2019.

In all cases it should be easy to use a spreadsheet and calendar to prove that all workdays are accounted for.

The biggest hiccup during the transition was knowing how items like insurance, 401K and the like would be addressed. Every year during open season good companies have let you know how many pay periods there will be during the upcoming year. That way if you wanted to have payroll deductions for HSA, FSA, or 401K that equaled an exact amount, you knew home many checks would be received.

One company I worked for wanted to go from monthly to every two weeks. They waited until November to tell everybody that it would start in December. They had to postpone for a year, after employees complained. The single December check in the middle of the month was small, and people trying to hit certain marks would be leaving money on the table. The delay allowed everybody to understand and plan for the implications.

For you, knowing if the pay day the last day of the month or the first day of the month is important. So is knowing what they do if the payday is a holiday. Shifting the last check of the year, or the first of the year into the wrong year can cause problems.

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