New law allows biweekly pay in RI

Beginning at the first of the year, Rhode Island businesses can choose to pay their employees every two weeks instead of every week.

But the rules about which companies can go to biweekly pay are up for debate.

Weekly pay has been a standard that unions in Rhode Island have fought to keep, but this past General Assembly session, lawmakers agreed with businesses that have been fighting for years to let the state go to paychecks every other week.

Hearings at the state Department of Labor and Training were part of the public comment process. Companies would have to apply to be allowed to go to biweekly paychecks, and they have to meet certain criteria.

One is that the average wage of their workers has to be $16 a hour, twice the state's new minimum wage. But the department is also suggesting companies have to reapply every two years.

"Recertification is simple. It's a form that would be resubmitted every two years, which would enable the department to receive an update of information and a reaffirmation that the employer continues to meet the elements of the law. We are hearing that that would be onerous to some, so we are certainly taking that into consideration before we promulgate the final rule," said Matt Weldon, DLT assistant director.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1. Rhode Island is one of few states that still require weekly paychecks.