Pay Frequency Laws by State

Resource Type: Useful Info

It is vital that all employers are aware of the HR and payroll laws in the US, particularly those that apply in the states in which their company operates. Amongst the employment laws that must be adhered to, pay frequency is a high concern. This is because any non-compliance with pay frequency laws will result in potentially disgruntled staff and reputational damage – not to mention monetary loss through fines and penalties.

Make sure you avoid this costly outcome by understanding pay frequency laws in your state.

Did You Know?

There are only 3 states with no pay frequency law, including:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • South Carolina

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What is ‘Pay Frequency’?

Pay frequency refers to how often an employee receives their paycheck and, therefore, when they get paid. This could be anything from weekly, monthly or in-between. Importantly, pay frequency requirements differ by state.

When a company has decided on their pay frequency, they will need to stick to it unless proper notice is given. Companies are not permitted to pick and choose when they pay staff on a sporadic basis but must instead establish a pay frequency to ensure employees are paid regularly and on-time, every time.

What are the Pay Frequency Laws Like in the US?

In the US, state authorities can change, regulate and enforce employment laws in their state as it’s appropriate. As such, most states have their own laws relating to pay frequency. The only states that don’t include pay frequency are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

Most Common Pay Frequency Laws

There are, generally, four different periods in which companies pay their employees. These are weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly or monthly.

  • Weekly – employees get paid once per week, which equals 52 paychecks in a year.
  • Biweekly – employees get paid once every two weeks, which equals 26 paychecks in a year.
  • Semi-monthly – employees get paid twice per month, which equals 24 paychecks in a year.
  • Monthly – employees get paid once per month, which equals 12 paychecks in a year.

These frequencies are set out in law for each state. However, pay frequencies are not enforced, so an employer has some control in establishing a pay period that suits their business needs. State authorities will specify the minimum frequency within which employees should be paid. For example, if a state stipulates that an employer must pay their employees at least once a month, then they can still choose to pay them once every two weeks instead.

Less Common Pay Frequency Laws

There are a few states that have more complex rules. Usually, these stipulate that employers must pay their employees at least every so many days. For example, in Arizona pay frequency law states how employees must be paid at least twice per month and no more than 16 days apart.

Pay Frequency Laws by State

See our quick guide to the pay frequency laws set out state by state below, so that you can find out exactly how often you should be paying employees – or how often you should be receiving pay. Where a state has a ‘ P’ in more than one column, it means that there are more options with regards to pay frequency.

Alabama    No pay frequency laws specified.
Arizona   There must be a minimum of two paydays each month, a maximum of 16 days apart.
CaliforniaPay laws state that the frequency of pay depends on the occupation.
Connecticut   It’s possible to apply to pay employees less frequently, however this must be approved by the labor commissioner.
Florida    No pay frequency laws specified.
Hawaii  This law applies only to those working in the private sector. Employees can request to be paid monthly via a special election procedure. Exceptions to the semi-monthly pay requirement can also be given by the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Illinois  The monthly pay frequency law only applies to professionals, executives and administrative workers.
IowaLaw stipulates that employees must be paid a minimum of once a month, and no later than 12 days after the period during which the pay was earned. This excludes Sundays and legal holidays. If a written agreement is in place this can be waived, and also there are different requirements for employees who work on commission.
Louisiana  Any employee working in the manufacturing, mining, oil boring or public service sectors, for a company that employs 10 or more workers, must be paid at least twice in every calendar month.
Maine   Employees must be paid a minimum of every 16 days.
Massachusetts  It is also possible to pay staff semi-monthly and monthly in specific circumstances.
MichiganPay laws state that the frequency of pay depends on the occupation.
Minnesota  Under regular circumstances, employers must pay staff a minimum of every 31 days. Any public service companies must pay employees a minimum of every 15 days. Employers must also pay transitory employees a minimum of every 15 days.
Mississippi  This law applies to all companies working in manufacturing, that employ 50+ workers, and all companies in the public service sector doing business within the state.
Montana    Pay frequency is generally semi-monthly, unless an alternative period has been established by the company.
Nebraska    Employers are allowed to decide on pay frequencies.
Nevada  The monthly pay frequency law only applies to professionals, executives and administrative workers.
New HampshireSemi-monthly and monthly pay frequencies are only permitted upon receipt of written permission from the New Hampshire Department of Labor. Otherwise weekly or biweekly frequencies are required.
New Jersey  Executives, supervisors, and other specific levels of employee can be paid once per month.
New Mexico  The monthly pay frequency law only applies to professionals, executives and administrative workers.
New York  Manual workers are paid weekly, clerical and other workers are paid semi-monthly. Manual workers can be paid semi-monthly pending approval.
North Carolina    No pay frequency laws specified.
North Dakota    
Pennsylvania    Employers are allowed to decide on pay frequencies.
Rhode Island Employers can request to pay staff less frequently than once a week, but they must pay at least twice every month. Childcare providers can opt for a pay frequency of every two weeks.
South Carolina    No pay frequency laws specified.
South Dakota    
Texas  Employees who are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act can be paid monthly.
Utah  Any employees who have an annual salary can be paid monthly.
Vermont Employers must give written notice to employees to offer a pay frequency of biweekly or semi-monthly.
Virginia The monthly pay frequency law only applies to professionals, executives and administrative workers. Any employees who are paid more than 150% of the average weekly wage in Virginia can be paid monthly, if they agree to be.
West Virginia    
Wisconsin   Employers must pay employees at least every 31 days. This law does not apply to employees working in the following sectors:
– logging (must be paid a minimum of quarterly)
– farm labor (must be paid a minimum of quarterly)
– unclassified workers of the University of Wisconsin System (up to the System)
– part-time firefighters and emergency medical technicians (must be paid a minimum of annually)
– school employees who ask for payment over a 12 month period
– any employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that stipulates a different pay frequency.

It’s worth noting that labor laws are regularly updated across the country. For the most up to date pay frequency laws, check the US Department of Labor state payday requirements.

While there are no pay frequency guidelines, federal law expects the pay frequency that a company offers to be consistent.

Most commonly in these states employees are paid weekly or monthly.

Are there Any Federal Pay Frequency Laws?

Pay frequency laws are governed on a state-by-state basis, however federal law does specify that any given pay frequency must be consistent. That is, a company is not permitted to change the frequency with which they pay employees as they like.


Pay Frequency Change Requirements

Although companies are not allowed to change pay frequencies as they wish, there are some circumstances in which they are permitted to change their pay frequency. As long as all the following criteria are met, it should be possible to make a change:

  • The new pay frequency must be permanent 
  • There must be a legitimate business reason 
  • There must be no unreasonable delay to the payment of wages 
  • There is no avoidance of the payment of overtime or minimum wage 

Can Different Employees Have Different Pay Frequencies? 

In short, yes. A company can pay different groups of employees in different pay frequencies. For example, manual workers might be paid weekly and clerical staff monthly. As long as all employees are paid consistently and fairly, different pay frequencies are permitted.  

Compliance with State Pay Frequency Laws 

In order to stay fully compliant with the law, it’s imperative that company owners are familiar with the pay frequency laws of the state or states they are operating in. As pay stub laws vary from state to state, ensuring compliance across the US can be confusing with due care and consideration. Pay frequency, along with pay stubs, are key to maintaining state and federal compliance.  

How IRIS FMP Can Help  

Keeping abreast of ever-changing state employment laws is a must for every company operating in the US. Internal payroll teams must make a point of regularly checking for amendments and bringing anything relevant to the table of the managers or company owners.  

If this becomes a complication, consider outsourcing your payroll team to a reliable third party. The experts here at IRIS FMP are well acquainted with American employment law and have the knowledge and expertise to keep your company compliant. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help your business.