Are there 26 or 27 pay dates in 2018? The answer is Yes! Two of the payroll service providers will have 26 pay dates and two will have 27 pay dates.
Why is this important and who is it important to? It is important to FERS employees who are planning on “maxing out” their TSP contributions in 2018. You must contribute to the TSP each and every pay period in order to receive the government match for the pay period.
If you assumed that there were 26 pay dates in 2018, you would set aside $712 per pay period in order to reach the elective deferral amount of $18,500 in pay period 26. But, what if there were 27 pay dates in the year? If you had hit the maximum contribution in pay period 26, you would make no contribution for pay period 27 and would miss out on the 4% match (you would receive the 1% agency automatic contribution regardless. If you want to spread out your contributions over a year that has 27 pay dates, you would choose $686 per pay period as a contribution.
If your agency gets payroll services from DFAS or GSA, there are 26 pay dates in 2018. However, if your agency’s payroll provider is NFC or Interior, there are 27 pay dates. Check with your HR office to ascertain how many pay dates there are in 2018 for your agency.