How to Ask Your Boss for an Advance

Offer a detailed explanation for why you are requesting the advance.

Offer a detailed explanation for why you are requesting the advance.

Many people find themselves, at one time or another, in a situation where one paycheck doesn’t quite stretch to meet the next paycheck. Perhaps there’s an emergency, an unanticipated expense or even a great opportunity you don't want to pass up. One option for handling this low cash flow is to ask your boss for an advance, or a cash loan, against your next paycheck.

Consult your employee handbook or speak to a human resources representative to inquire about the company’s policy for extending advances. There may be paperwork to be filled out to accompany the request.

Make an appointment to speak to your boss in private. The rest of the office doesn’t need to know about your personal finances, so keep the discussion between you and your supervisor.

Explain the situation that has put you in a position of having to ask for the advance. If it truly is a personal or sensitive matter, you may not want to share every detail, but you should convey both the urgency and the necessity of the loan.

Discuss your available options based on the hours you work and the amount of money you are requesting. Make sure you understand the terms of how the money will be repaid.

Explain to your boss that you anticipate this being a “one-time-only” request. Providing an advance means tinkering with the payroll budget and involving other departments, like accounting, so assure your boss that you take your finances seriously and are asking for the advance out of sheer necessity.

Plan ahead for the fact that your next paycheck will be short the amount of your advance unless a longer repayment plan has been agreed upon. Depending on whether you are a salaried or hourly employee, the advance may have an impact on tax withholdings and the way any benefits or retirement plan contributions are tallied. A human resources or accounting representative can explain the specific ramifications of the advance based on your unique circumstances.

Write a letter to thank your boss for entertaining your request, regardless of whether the advance is approved or denied.


  • Explore all of your other options before approaching your boss for an advance. You may be better served asking for a short-term loan from a family member. You don’t want your boss to view you as a person who is financially irresponsible or who fails to plan for emergencies.


  • Think twice before asking for an advance to pay for something that could be seen as trivial or unnecessary. Doing so could cloud your boss' professional opinion of you.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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