By: Revanche

Payroll: The twice-monthly system

April 15, 2010

As a supervisor one of the responsibilities I’ve got on my plate is approving the staff timesheets. When I was a non-exempt (hourly) employee, I was always on a biweekly system which meant you were paid the week following the pay period closing date. If your work week ended on Friday the ninth, that’s when your pay period ended. Your timesheets were due the next day, and you were paid the following week.

My employees are turning in timesheets in the middle of their pay period.  For example, they submit on the 8th for days 1st-15th. As hourly workers, how does that make sense? If they’re out sick or have to take some time off unexpectedly during the latter half of that pay period and the timesheets are already signed, approved and submitted for processing, then you can’t very well charge their sick or vacation time appropriately, can you?

As far as I can recall, California labor law is extremely strict about accurate reporting and timesheets so I’m a little surprised that this is the payroll method used.

Does anyone have experience with the twice monthly method? Am I missing something here?

16 Responses to “Payroll: The twice-monthly system”

  1. Ruth says:

    As an hourly I’ve always been on the bi-weekly system, you get paid the week after it’s submitted. As you say, the other’s completely impractical.

  2. Shelley says:

    I’ve had bi-monthly pay checks in the past, but it was so long ago, I don’t remember the details about dates. Nowhere, however, have I ever been allowed to submit a timesheet in advance like you describe. That can’t be right! Are they trying to pull a fast one??

  3. I worked as an hourly employee in California for many years and was never allowed to submit timesheets in advance. Has anyone been able to tell you why they’re running things that way?

  4. Marci says:

    Are your employees salaried non-exempt or non-salaried non-exempt? My employees are salaried non-exempt. They are paid twice-monthly for their regular 40 hours, but they submit time sheets every week. Basically, they get paid their regular 40 hours regardless and any time off, etc. is taken into account on the next pay cycle.

  5. Jonesie says:

    It’s reconciled the pay period after submission. My old office was on the same kind of system. If someone is sick or takes an unscheduled day, it was reconciled on the following paycheck.

  6. I am on a semi-monthly system and follow the same protocol. I actually don’t submit my timesheet until Friday morning (although we are paid on Thursdays) because Thursday are still up-for-grabs in terms of OT. Fridays, I refuse to work OT. I mean, its FRIDAY!!! But as a manager, I believe it is up to you to try to change the system and begin to not accept timesheets submitted before the deadline. Remind them that it is in their best interests according to Cali state law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I used to submit my timesheets in advance too. Like others said, any time off is reconciled with the next paycheck


  8. eemusings says:

    That’s precisely how our system works.

    That makes no sense at all. Like you say, what if they get sick? Or work a bunch of overtime after the timesheet is in? The mind blows.

    What is weird is, we’re paid a cycle in advance. Then any difference in our timesheet is made up in the next pay packet. It’s gonna suck when I change jobs and have a huge standdown period…unless I have lots of leave to get paid out.

  9. Yeah…this ain’t right. Can you change it??

  10. Bucksome says:

    Everyone at my company (in CA) get paid twice amonth whether hourly or salaried.

    We submit timesheets 5 days prior to payday so we get paid the 5th and 20th and timesheets are due the 31st (or whatever the last business day is that month) and the 15th.

  11. Aaren says:

    Well, I’m not in CA anymore; I’m in VA. At my firm, our paycycle goes from the 10th-25th, and the 26th-9th. Timesheets are due on the 27th for the end of month paycheck on the last day of the month, and are due on the 10th for the 15th paycheck. That way there’s no after the fact reconciliation.

  12. Until the Great Desert University outsourced payroll to PeopleSoft, we had a bimonthly system. We didn’t have time sheets–not even hourly workers clocked in. Supervisors kept track of who was there and who wasn’t.

    PeopleSoft switched our pay to biweekly and required that all nonexempt workers fill in an online timesheet. Because I was exempt, I didn’t do this, but I did have to report when I expected to take vacation or sick leave. In some periods, this projected leave was reported ahead of time.

    Our business office manager required that nonexempt people get their hours in by a deadline. If you didn’t, you weren’t going to get paid for that week. We had a “lagging” system, which meant your pay check did not cover the days all the way up to the day the check was cut — it was some make-believe two-week span, which precessed in a way that was unpredictable unless you had a printout of the complicated calendar showing what days which paycheck covered. Really, all you could do was enter your hours as honestly as possible and hope it all worked out correctly. If you unexpectedly had to take sick leave or vacation time that wasn’t reflected on a paycheck, you would enter it the following pay period.

    Arizona is a third-world country, and so California’s law may be different. But I’ll bet there’s some exception that makes these shenanigans allowable.

  13. Revanche says:

    @Ruth: That’s always been my experience.

    @Shelley: Not the employees, they don’t know better. 🙂

    @paragon2pieces, Investing Newbie, Rina: I have zero input in the system – payroll dates were determined by the payroll (3rd party) provider and the HR guy in-house who wanted extra time to review and approve. Except .. what sense does it make to approve prognostication?

    @Marci: Non-salaried, non-exempt. They are eligible for overtime (though we rarely ever approve it).

    @Jonesie, Ella, eemusings: It wouldn’t bother me quite so much (yes, it would) if I didn’t have to sign those suckers. Now I’m on the hook too! And I know better.

    @Bucksome, Aaren: I’d be much more comfortable with that.

    @Funny: CA’s got the strictest labor laws in the country, I think, so the fact that this “works” boggles my mind. But I did just come from a large institution that can get sued bigtime with so many employees.

  14. I get pretty annoyed by my company’s strict labor recording rules, but this system is no better.

    It should benefit you, though, right? Just make sure to take your sick days & unplanned vacation days during that second week!

  15. Revanche says:

    @paranoidasteroid: It doesn’t actually, since I only report once a month IF I took sick or vacation days.

    It benefits them if they’re willing to lie, but they have no way of knowing that I keep a record of their callouts to compare to their timesheets.

  16. In Debt says:

    I’m not in California, but I am paid hourly on a semi-monthly payroll (15th and last day of month). Electronic time sheets are critical to our billings, and are to be input by noon of the next business day — every day! But, I’m paid a pay cycle behind. So the time sheet I turned in on the 15th will be my check for April 30th.

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