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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Earnings Periods: Earnings paid at regular intervals: Interval of payment: General

Regulations 3(1) SS(C)R 2001

If the employer pays the earnings at regular intervals, only the interval of paymentmatters, not the period over which the earnings accrued. Regard is given to the period inwhich an employee is paid rather than the period the earnings cover. The most commonlyapplicable provisions can be summarised as follows:

  • where any part of an employee’s earnings are normally paid at regular intervalsof:

    • one week or less, the length of the earnings period is a week; or
    • more than one week, the length of the earnings period is the length of the intervals.

The definition of ‘regular interval’ for the purposes of regulation 3includes only such intervals as are:

  • in accordance with an express or implied arrangement between an employed earner (the employee) and the secondary contributor (normally the employer) which provides the intervals at which payments of earnings normally fall to be made and
  • the intervals are of substantially equal length.
  • The contract of employment will normally specify the period between which the payment of earnings will be made.


For an earner whose pay is calculated by reference to a weekly wage but who is paidregularly every second week, the earnings period is 2 weeks, the first such periodbeginning on the first day of the tax year.

The following table sets out examples of how the earnings period rules work if theemployee is paid regularly:

Paid same day each week The earnings period is a week
Paid twice weekly, eg on Tuesday and Friday The earnings period is a tax week and the earnings must be aggregated
Paid once a month The earnings period is a month
Paid once every fortnight The earnings period is two weekly
Paid once every two months The earnings period is two monthly
Paid once a year The earnings period is annual