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Terms and Definitions

What is a pay period?

Updated: May 20, 2024

Pay period definition and meaning

A pay period is one of multiple equivalent and repeating spans of time – most commonly a week, two weeks, or month – that is used to calculate a worker’s incremental earnings throughout the year.


More about pay periods

Choosing a pay period also decides how often your employees will get paid. A weekly pay period will mean 52 paychecks per year. A bi-weekly pay period would mean a paycheck every two weeks, for 26 paychecks in a year. A monthly pay period will mean 12 paychecks each year.

Using pay period in a sentence

“I kept forgetting to submit my travel expenses, so now I’ll have to wait until the next pay period to get reimbursed.”

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