How Often Should You Pay Employees?

The federal government imposes no hard-and-fast rules on how often you must pay your employees; however, some state governments do.

In Utah, for example, employers must pay their employees at least semimonthly. Ohio tells its employers when and how often to pay their employees — at least semimonthly, on the first and 15th of every month. Massachusetts goes as far as to designate who gets paid when: Agricultural workers may be paid monthly; executive, administrative, and professional employees may be paid biweekly or semimonthly, unless they elect to be paid monthly; and casual employees may be paid within seven days after the end of their period.

For those doing business in states such as Florida, there are no rules. Since there is no state law, Florida businesses can pay their employees daily, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

Rules on how long an employer can “hold back” or delay salary payment also vary. In Illinois, wages paid during a semimonthly or biweekly pay period must be paid no later than 13 days following the end of the pay period in which they were earned. For weekly pay periods, the time limit is seven days after the end of the period. Wages paid on a daily basis must, insofar as possible, be paid on the same day and no later than 24 hours after the day they were earned. Wages of professional, executive, or administrative employees may be paid on or before 21 days after the period in which they were earned. In Idaho, employers must pay wages within 10 days of the end of the pay period.

Whether you are required to pay your employees every week or every month, both federal and state laws require that you pay your employees regularly. By law, you must establish a pay period. You can’t pay employees every week one month and then once the next month.