How many salary weeks in a year?

If you get paid weekly or biweekly, whether a regular salary or by the hour, you may be wondering how many salary weeks there are in a year. This all depends on how many weeks of vacation, or other non-working, unpaid time you take off. It also depends on whether or not your employer offers you paid vacation time.

One year on Earth is divided into 52 weeks. (Really, the exact figure is 52.177457 weeks per year if you are measuring the entire time that the planet takes to revolve around the sun.) If you work every week, or take off no more time than your allotted paid vacation time allows, then you have 52 salary weeks in a year. For biweekly payrolls (payments every other week), this means there are 26 pay periods per year.

Most people don’t work every week, however, and may take some time off for vacation, due to sickness, or to take care of family needs. If your employer offers you paid vacation time, you will be paid for this non-working time as if you were regularly at work, as allowed by your employer’s vacation rules.

If you are not offered paid vacation time, or have used it all, additional time off will be deducted from your salary. It is very typical in the United States for employees to take off two weeks from their job every year, in which case, without any paid vacation, they are paid for 50 salary weeks in a year. Accordingly for workers who take off four weeks out of the year away from their jobs (as is common in many European countries), without any paid vacation, there are 48 salary weeks in a year.

There is one more complication because the 365 days of the year are not cleanly divisible by 7 days per week. Because of this, there will be 53 pay weeks per year, once every 5 or 6 years. For biweekly payrolls, there with be a 27 pay periods per year, once every 11 years.

If you are looking to estimate how much money you make per year based on your hourly pay rate and your working number of salary weeks, try our simple salary calculator.