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How Many Pay Periods in a Year? 2024 Payroll Calendar

Sophie Isbell • December 19, 2023

Pay periods determine when employees get paid. Knowing how they work can help you read your pay stub, shape your budget, and improve general money management. Here’s what you need to know. 

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How many pay periods are there in 2024?

There are 26 pay periods for 2024 for those with a biweekly pay schedule (paid every two weeks). If you get paid weekly, there are 52 pay periods in 2024, and 12 if you get paid monthly. 

Not all pay periods run on the same schedule, and your employer may operate on any of the following pay periods:

Pay scheduleTotal yearly pay periods
Weekly52
Biweekly26
Semimonthly24
Monthly12

What are pay periods?

A pay period is the time frame for which employees are paid. These periods can occur weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly. 

While pay periods can have different lengths, they all track the number of hours you worked within a set time frame. Employers use them to calculate your gross pay for that period.

An illustrated chart breaks down the four types of pay periods and how many paychecks in a year you can expect for each.

How to calculate weekly pay periods

If you get paid weekly, you’ll generally receive 52 paychecks per year. Employers often use this pay period for hourly employees. 

To calculate the number of weekly paychecks in a year, simply find the number of weeks in the calendar year: 

  • Number of paychecks per year = Total weeks in a year

Since most years have 52 weeks, you can expect 52 paychecks per year for a weekly pay schedule. Due to leap years, you can occasionally expect 53 paychecks in a year once every five-to-six years.

 An illustration of a calendar, a stack of dollar bills, and a magnifying glass accompanies a breakdown of how many paychecks in a year to expect for weekly pay periods.

How to calculate biweekly pay periods

If you get paid biweekly, you’ll generally receive 26 paychecks per year, which employers pay out every two weeks. You can calculate the number of biweekly pay periods in a year by dividing the number of weeks in a year by two. The formula is: 

  • Number of paychecks per year = total weeks in a year / 2

The general calculation is:

  • Number of paychecks per year = 52 / 2 = 26

You can generally expect 26 paychecks per year if you’re on a biweekly pay schedule and it isn’t a leap year. As with weekly pay periods, this can occasionally go up to 27 due to leap years. Check with your payroll administrator for more details.

An illustration of a calendar, a stack of dollar bills, and a magnifying glass accompanies a breakdown of how many paychecks in a year to expect for biweekly pay periods.

How to calculate semimonthly pay periods

Unlike biweekly pay, where pay periods occur every two weeks, semimonthly paychecks occur 24 times a year, or twice a month for 12 months. 

To calculate the number of paychecks in a year for semimonthly pay, multiply the number of pay periods per month by 12 months. The formula is: 

  • Number of paychecks per year = Pay periods per month × 12 months

So, the calculation is:

  • Number of paychecks per year = 2 × 12 = 2

So, a semimonthly pay schedule will provide 24 paychecks per year.

An illustration of a calendar, a stack of dollar bills, and a magnifying glass accompanies a breakdown of how many paychecks in a year to expect for semimonthly pay periods.

How to calculate monthly pay periods

Unlike the more frequent pay schedules above, monthly pay occurs once a month. To calculate the number of pay periods in a year for monthly paychecks, simply multiply the number of pay periods per month by 12 months. The formula is:

  • Number of paychecks per year = Pay periods per month × 12 months

So, the calculation is:

  • Number of paychecks per year = 1 × 12 = 12

Employees on a monthly pay schedule can expect 12 paychecks per year.

An illustration of a calendar, a stack of dollar bills, and a magnifying glass accompanies a breakdown of how many paychecks in a year to expect for monthly pay periods.

Considerations for leap years

A leap year includes an extra day, bringing the total to 366. Leap years occur every four years, falling on February 29. It can impact the number of pay periods per year for those on biweekly or weekly pay schedules: 

  • Weekly pay schedule = 53 pay periods every few years
  • Biweekly pay schedule = 27 pay periods every few years

Using pay periods to improve budgeting

Aligning your budget with your paycheck frequency can give you more control over your income and monthly expenses. Here are ways you can use your pay periods to improve your finances: 

  • Projecting your income: Knowing the number of pay periods in a year allows you to accurately project your annual income, providing insight into how much of your paycheck you should save
  • Monthly budgeting: Tailoring your budget to your pay period frequency can ensure your monthly expenses match your income and avoid unnecessary financial strain. 
  • Emergency fund planning: When you know your pay schedule, you can determine how much you can afford to store in an emergency fund. Building a financial cushion is particularly important when unexpected expenses arise. 
  • Debt repayment: Knowing your pay schedule can help you effectively structure debt repayment plans. Aligning debt payments with your income schedule can keep you on track to consistently pay off debt.  
  • Planning for financial goals: Whether you’re saving for a vacation, a home, or retirement, knowing your pay periods can help you set realistic goals and savings plans for the long term. 

Once you’ve mastered your pay schedule, use our savings goal calculator to set and reach long-term savings goals. 

Set up direct deposit with Chime to get paid up to two days early.*

FAQs about pay periods

Still have questions about pay periods? Find answers below. 

How many pay periods are there for 2024? 

The answer depends on your pay schedule. For biweekly pay schedules, there are 26 pay periods in 2024. For semimonthly pay schedules, there are 26 pay periods in 2024. 

Can I change my pay schedule with my employer? 

Whether you can change your pay schedule is up to your employer. Reach out to your HR department or supervisor to see whether pay schedule adjustments are possible. 

How can I manage finances with a variable income? 

Managing finances with a variable income involves:

  • Creating a flexible budget
  • Prioritizing essential expenses
  • Building an emergency fund for unexpected costs
  • Tracking spending
  • Setting financial and savings goals
  • Adjusting your budget as income fluctuates

Each of these strategies can help you stay on top of an irregular income. Learn more about financial planning for freelancers

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1 Information from The Lighthouse’s Please explain: Why do we have leap years? as of 11/28/2023: https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/please-explain/may-2021/Please-explain-Why-do-we-have-leap-years

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