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Payroll Schedules (definition)

A payroll schedule defines when you should run your payroll so that you can pay employees on their pay day. You can use payroll schedules to group together employees in whichever way makes the most sense for you to effectively run your payroll and your business. However, all employees grouped in the same payroll schedule must have the same pay frequency (for example, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and so on).

You define how often you pay your employees (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and so on), which date their paycheck is due, and which day you run payroll, and QuickBooks calculates your upcoming payroll schedule so that you can pay your employees on time.

How does QuickBooks calculate payroll schedules?

When you set up a payroll schedule, you define a pay frequency (or how often an employee gets paid or the duration of time for which the employee is being paid, for example, weekly or semi-monthly), the next upcoming pay period end date (the last date of the pay period), the next upcoming paycheck date (the date the employee gets paid), and the day you run your next payroll. QuickBooks calculates your next payroll schedule accordingly, taking into account legal holidays and weekends. The upcoming payroll due dates appear in the Pay Employees section of the Payroll Center.

Note: If you're using Assisted Payroll or services, the paycheck needs to be processed two business days prior to when the employee is due to be paid. QuickBooks takes this two-day lead time into consideration when creating payroll schedules.

Here's an example of what payroll schedules that you set up look like in the Pay Employees section of the Payroll Center.

Payroll schedules in the Payroll Center

What if I don't see the Payroll Center?

  1. Go to the Employees menu, click Payroll, and then click Learn About Payroll Options.

  2. Click OK to launch a Web browser.

  3. You can choose a QuickBooks Payroll Service or run your payroll manually.


Each time you run your payroll, the payroll schedule is updated to the next pay period and appears in the Pay Employees section.

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