Until recently, there’s been something I’ve always wondered about the paycheck I get from UMBC. We’re paid biweekly, which translates to 26 paychecks per year. Now, the University gives me a certain dollar amount as my annual salary. But if I add up the gross pay from each of those 26 paychecks, it always comes out to slightly *less* than what the University claims is my annual salary. Being the paranoid type, I always assumed the University was short-changing me. Happily, I was wrong. The figure the University gives me is for 365 days (or 366 days in a leap year). My paychecks cover 26 14-day pay periods, or 364 days. So, in most years, I’m receiving paychecks that cover only 364 days. To get my actual annual salary, I need to take the sum total of all my paychecks, divide by 364 to get the per-day pay rate, and multiply the result by 365 (or 366 in a leap year) to get my salary for a full 365 (or 366) day year. When I do this, the result always matches the annual salary reported by the University.

So what happens to the remaining 1 or 2 days worth of pay? It gets rolled into the following year’s pay, and every so often, we end up with a year where we get an extra paycheck (for a total of 27 paychecks). To an unwashed employee like me, this seems like a confusing way to do accounting, but it does all add up in the end.

While I’m on the topic, I should plug what is probably the most useful site on the State of Maryland’s website (at least for state employees): The Central Payroll Buerau Net Pay Calculator. You basically enter your gross biweekly pay, all pre-tax deductions, and number of exemptions from your W-4, and it tells you what your net pay will be. Very, very handy when you get a raise, or your pre-tax deductions are changing, and you want to see what effect it will have on your net pay.

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