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Semi-Monthly Pay Period NOT 86.67 hours?
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Semi-Monthly Pay Period NOT 86.67 hours?

I just started a new position for a small company that pays semi-monthly (7th and 22nd). I am a non-exempt employ and last pay period, my check only showed 80 hours. HR states they dont pay 86.67 hours every pay period because I only worked 80 hours for the pay period....after doing the math it doesnt add up. Am I missing something becaues I think they are wrong......40 hours a week, times 52 weeks in the year, divided by 24 pay dates in the year = 86.67 hours per pay period? How do I argue this matter with HR/Payroll?


You need to look at the calendar and figure out the number of hours you actually worked during the pay period in question. If you were salary (not paid by the hour) then it would average out to be 86.67 hours per pay period. If you are a non-exempt employee then you would only be paid for hours you actually work, not an average number of hours.

Well, how many hours DID you work for the pay period? Depending on how the weekends fall, you might have only worked 80 hours. Find out when the pay is actually for - it won't end on the day your paycheck is due if you are paid hourly, since they'll need at least a few days to total everything up and produce the checks. You should be paid for the hours you actually WORKED during that payroll period - it won't be the same for every payday. Some pay periods will be a little more, some a little less, than the 86.67 hours.

Expert Realtor
Your math is wrong.

There are 26 pay periods if you get paid every two weeks.

24 if you get paid twice a month.

If you are employed full time, there are 2080 full-time working hours in a calender year.

You are confusing pay period with a pay day. If you are a non-exempt employee, you only get paid for your punched hours. You need to find out what they consider a work week to be.

So if you only punch 80 hours, then that is all they have to pay you.

You keep arguing this matter with payroll and you'll be finding a new payroll...b/c you'll be out of a job.

You are correct in your calculation. This is the difference between a semi-monthly pay period and a biweekly pay period. (2080 annual hours / 24 weeks vs. 26 weeks.) You are right, there can be a disadvantage to the employee in this situation.

However, as a non-exempt employee, you should only be paid for hours actually worked. If you worked 86 hours in the pay period, you should be paid for 86 - 80 at straight time and 6 and 1.5 times (or whatever the appropriate OT calculation is - 1.5x, 2.0x, etc.) If you work 80, you'll be paid for 80.

I've been paid bi-monthly before and this is how it works:

Your statement should say what days the pay period covered. Add the hours you worked each day within the specified range and see if it exceeded 80 hours. Normally what they do is adjust the applicable range so that only full weeks are included in any one pay period.

By this method, 20 of your paydays each year will be for 80 hours while 4 paydays will include 120 hours (assuming no overtime).

It's actually rather handy since you plan your budget on the 80 hour check. When the "big checks" come in you have a little extra to treat yourself. They tend to be spaced pretty well, too. About every 3 months expect a nice bump to your normal payday.

Just look at the "effective period" or something like that on your statement... it will specifiy what days were covered by the present paycheck.

Hope this helps.

did you account for holidays?

They probably hired you salaried based on 80 hour pay period, regardless of how it falls on the calendar your only paid for 80 hours a pay period, when your salaried that's perfectly legal to do. But if you feel it's wrong just go to them and say I'm not understanding this, when I figure it out I do it this way (then say what you said in your post), then say am I doing something wrong, can you please break it down for me so I understand. If you ask that way it's more like your looking for help rather than accusing them of shorting you pay so they don't get defensive. They could have some screwing way of doing it. When your salaried it's based on an 80 hour pay period, so even if you do the math and it's 86.67, it doesn't matter because your paid for 80 hours, what matters is your salary is right based on 80 hour semi monthly pay. In other words your gross semi monthly pay should add up to your annual salary you accepted. So if you make 50K each check's gross would be 4166.67, which is 50K a year, so take your salary divide that by that by 12 and that's what your gross check should be pay day so you make your annual salary. So what they probably didn't explain clearly to you is that you were hired on an annual salary, based on 80 hour pay periods and you get your checks twice a month. So as a salaried person don't get caught up in the hours, it doesn't apply to you since your salaried.

Hope this helps!

HR Manager

If you are non-exempt, then they should be paying you by your hours actually worked. That could be determined by punching a timeclock, or by paying you for a fixed number of hours each day you work.

In either case, with a semi-monthly pay cycle, some pay periods will cover more calendar days and some will cover less. Your pay will fluctuate accordingly.

I would infer that, on the 80 hour paycheck you mentioned, you had ten, eight-hour work days in that pay period. Other times, it could be 11 or even 12 days. The pay period for the second half of February might be 8 or 9. It will average out over the whole year.

If you end up working the standard 260 days, that will be 260 x 8 = 2080 hours, and that will have averaged 86.67 per pay period.

I hope that makes sense, and helps. Good luck.

As a payroll Manager, most of you are wrong. One the VERY first paycheck depend how the company is set up and the actual day you started work, your first paycheck will be the 80 hours. All adjustments (if any) will be on the next check. To explain, let take November 2012 and lets day for the sake of argument that you were paided on the 5th and the last day of the month. And lets day you started work on the 2nd of November which was a Friday. So, the 2nd through the 15th would be 10 days instead of 11. Your first paycheck ONLY reflex the hours that you actually worked. Your second paycheck will reflect the 86.67, because you will be on the regular pay cycle. Your first check unless you started on the first day of the pay cycle will never be the 86.67 hours. It will only be the actual hours worked. If you started on the 6th for example you would be paid for 8 day or 64 hours. I hope this may clear up some confusion.

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