How To Ask for a Salary Advance (With Example)

Updated March 10, 2023

Salary advances can be beneficial to someone facing a financial difficulty. An advance on an employee’s salary can help them overcome a momentary setback without having to take out a bank loan. If you're thinking about asking for a salary advance, you need to understand the best options for when and how to ask.

In this article, we discuss what a salary advance is, when to ask for one and the steps you should take when requesting one.

What is a salary advance?

A salary advance is when your employer agrees to give you a portion or the entirety of a future paycheck before your usual payday. Salary advances involve a private loan agreement that exists between you and your employer. The policy for handling salary advances varies by employer. Salary advances should not be taken lightly, and the process of acquiring one requires thought and tact.

Related: How to Ask for a Raise (With Examples)

When to ask for a salary advance

Salary advances are granted only when an employee is experiencing an unexpected financial setback, such as a family emergency, bereavement costs or health bills that are not covered by insurance. Salary advances are typically only a valid option if you have already exhausted other resources, like borrowing from a family member or selling some of your valuables. You also should only request an advance on your salary once, if possible. A generous employer might be willing to offer a salary advance, but it’s best not to make it a habit.

Related: 11 Daily Payment Apps To Improve Your Financial Stability

How to ask for a salary advance

Your goal is to respectfully request a salary advance while preserving a good working relationship with your employer so be thoughtful about how you approach it. Here are some steps to take when asking for a salary advance:

  1. Consider your options

  2. Research your employer’s policies

  3. Prepare your request

  4. Get it in writing

  5. Attend to your affairs

1. Consider your options

Before you start the process of requesting a salary advance, take some time to carefully think about your situation in its entirety. Consider your relationship with your employer, your reason for asking for the advance and how you expect to be able to pay back the loan in the future. If you are unsure about any of these elements, investigate other options for getting the funds you need. If you have considered the situation and are still confident that you need a salary advance, you can move on to the next step.

Related: Budget Management Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Research your employer’s policies

If your employer has offered salary advances before, there is most likely a document that details the company’s specific policy. Find this information in your employee handbook, through HR or by asking your employer directly. Make sure that your reason for submitting the request is considered valid by your employer, and follow any specific instructions for how to start the process.

Read more: 16 Examples of Important Workplace Policies

3. Prepare your request

To begin the salary advance process, write a detailed request in a letter or schedule a meeting with your supervisor. This request should not be brought up in casual conversation but should be approached professionally and with some formality. Your request should include the specific reason why you need the advance, exactly how much you need and how you intend to pay it back. You should also explain your plan for making this a one-time request.

Be prepared for your employer to deny your request or to ask that you make some changes to your terms. Be willing to negotiate, but be honest if they suggest a repayment plan you are not able to meet. Remember, if you are borrowing from a future paycheck, your next paycheck will be smaller than usual. Take all these factors into account when settling on terms.

Related: How To Negotiate at Every Stage of Your Career

4. Get it in writing

After you and your employer decide on the terms of the loan agreement, you will need to draft a simple document that outlines the advance amount and the repayment plan. Your employer may deduct the entire amount from your next paycheck or may agree to take smaller portions from several upcoming paychecks. After the document is written, you and your employer need to sign it so that both parties are legally protected. 

In addition to the contract, you should also write a sincere thank you note. Your supervisor is not required to grant you a salary advance, so you should show your appreciation for their empathy and flexibility. Thank them specifically for their time and for their thoughtfulness.

Related: Business Letter Format and Example

5. Attend to your affairs

After you have used the advance to regain control of your financial situation, you will need to start working toward paying back the loan. You might also be able to use this opportunity to reassess your financial state. If you do not already have them, consider starting an emergency fund or a budget, opening a savings account or writing a contingency plan. If you start preparing now, you are not likely to need another salary advance in the future.

Related: FAQ: When Will I Get Paid? First and Last Paychecks Discussed

Salary advance request letter example

Here is an example of a salary advance request letter you can use to help you write your own:

Dear Mr. Grant,

I am writing to request a $750 salary advance on my November 15 paycheck, please. My sister-in-law passed away yesterday, and I need the funds to buy last-minute, cross-country airplane tickets. This expense is completely unexpected, and I regret to say that I am unable to pay for my travel with my current savings. I have contacted HR and am aware of the company’s policy on salary advances. I am prepared to agree to the usual terms for a 6-month repayment window and a 2% interest rate.

I apologize for the last-minute nature of my request and for the inconvenience I am sure this would cause you. I respectfully ask for your patience and understanding. I am available to meet with you to discuss this request in person anytime today or before 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Thank you very much for your time and understanding.
Linda Wood
Marketing Assistant

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