A pay advance is when your employer agrees to pay you all or part of your next paycheck before you have worked for it. Chances are, your employer is not going to simply hand you a check. There will be paperwork involved, and potentially some interest. For that reason, an advance is something that should only be used for emergencies.
When to ask for a Pay Advance
Typically, employers only agree to give pay advances when there is a true need. Even then, not every employer is going to be willing to give advances. It creates an unnecessary risk for the company.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough money to make it to your next paycheck, and you don’t have another option (such as Rain), it may be time to ask your employer for an advance.
How to Request an Advance
When you ask for a pay advance, be sure to dress professionally, be polite, and choose your words carefully. If your company does not have a policy for pay advances or this is not something that happens often, be prepared to hear “no.” If you are told “no,” don’t storm out angrily. Thank the person for their time, and leave respectfully. You’re much more likely to get help in the future if you stay on good terms.
Follow these steps for the best possible outcome:
1. Research your company’s policies, first.
Your employer will be more attentive if you show up prepared. Search through your employee handbook, your payroll system, and any other documentation you have from your employer to find out if they already have information about pay advances that you can review.
If you find out from your research that your employer does not typically offer payday loans, don’t give up. Ask to speak to your manager or HR representative anyway, but say, “I couldn’t find any information about this, so I hope you don’t mind me asking…” or, “I know the company doesn’t usually reward pay advances, but I’d like to talk to you about my options, if you have a few minutes.”
2. Plan out what you need to say.
Even if you don’t think that you’ll be nervous, jot down some notes about what you’d like to say when you ask for your advance. You don’t want to forget any important details or fumble and say the wrong thing.
Write down exactly how much you’re asking for, when you’d like to have the money, and even why you need it. It may seem obvious, but writing all of this down will help you feel and appear more prepared and may result in a better outcome.
3. Take notes.
During your meeting, you might get some important information, like what the company’s policies typically are, who else you need to talk to, etc. It’s important to show up with a notepad and pen. Aside from helping you look more prepared, it will make sure you don’t have to ask the same questions again later.
Pay Advance Letter Example
Even if you can meet with someone at your company in person about your payday advance request, it can help to have a written request letter.
Always date your letter and address your recipient by last name. This letter will likely be saved in your employee file, so you won’t want to start with “Hey ___,” even if you would normally address someone at your company in that way.
You should include a brief explanation of your situation as a courtesy, but there is no need to go into detail about your personal life. Additionally, include what you’ve learned about the company’s typical pay advance policies. Finally, provide a time that you are available to meet, and sign the letter with your name, job title, and contact information. If your company has multiple locations, include where you work as well. This will help the letter recipient identify you and ensure that proper procedures are followed.
Here is a template you can use for your payday advance request letter:
July 1, 2020
Dear Mrs. Jones,
I am writing to request a $750 advance on my July 15 paycheck. I recently had a medical procedure and I’m having a hard time affording the related bills. I love this company, and I don’t want to take time away from it for a second job. All I need is a little help to get back on track.
After reviewing the employee handbook and policies, I found that payday advances may be rewarded based on employee merit. I’ve been in good standing with the company since my first day here in June of 2019.
I respectfully request your patience and understanding and apologize for any inconvenience my request may cause.
My calendar is open on Thursday afternoon, if you’d like to discuss this later.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Jane Smith, IT Specialist, Nashville
Best Alternative to Payday Advances
A payday advance is a much better option than a payday loan (which can result in high interest rates and debt), but there’s still an even better option: on-demand pay.
On-demand pay, sometimes called “earned wage access,” is a benefit that more and more companies are offering. It means that if you need money before payday, you can withdraw up to a certain amount. Whatever you do not withdraw early will appear in your normal paycheck.
When pay on demand is an option, you don’t necessarily have to talk to your boss about your financial stress. No one has to know, because all you have to do is log into your Rain app and withdraw the money you need. Plus, you won’t have to take time out of your manager’s day to discuss your struggles. It’s a win-win.
Your employer might feel better about offering Rain than allowing payday advances. If your employer does not currently offer Rain, and you need your money early, consider sending this letter to your manager or your payroll/human resources department:
August 1, 2020
Dear Mr. Lee,
I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing because I discovered a new benefit that I believe will help many of our employees, including myself. It’s 100% free for employers to sign up, so I thought you might be interested.
Recently, I underwent a medical procedure that resulted in financial stress. I wanted to ask for a pay advance, but I thought this might be better.
The benefit is called Rain, and their website is https://rain.us.
I hope that you will consider!
Thanks for your time,
Rose Brown, Sales Development, Los Angeles
About the Author
Anastasia is the Marketing lead at Rain. When she's not fighting the good fight to end predatory financial products, you can find her volunteering at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or relaxing with her fiance and their two cats, two dogs, and hedgehog.