CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials think they have found a way to change the state's payroll system without causing anyone to miss a paycheck.
West Virginia state employees are currently paid on a semi-monthly basis. Top officials, including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Treasurer John Perdue and Auditor Glen Gainer, would like to move them to a bi-weekly schedule.
Those plans sound similar, but they are not.
On a semi-monthly pay schedule, employees receive two paychecks a month, no matter how many weeks are in a particular month. With a bi-weekly schedule, workers receive a check every two weeks, so they are sometimes paid three times in a month.
Under a semi-monthly schedule, there are 24 paydays per year. A bi-weekly schedule means more paychecks — 26 in all per year — although each individual check is smaller.
Switching the systems is especially difficult because about a quarter of the state's 45,000 employees are not paid in arrears.
Any state employee hired after 2002 must work for a month before getting their first paycheck. That allows the state some leeway to adjust their paychecks if the employee doesn't work as many hours as previously scheduled.
Older employees are paid up-front. So if they don't work as many hours as previously scheduled, payroll clerks must issue corrections, either taking away or adding little money out of their next check.
Switching older employees over to an arrears pay schedule could mean they would miss a payday.