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Asking for an advance from your employer is usually not a situation people wish to be in, since being in debt to the company can make things awkward if you can't pay it back in the time promised. As a general rule it's not a good idea to ask your employer for money, advises Alison Green of the "Ask a Manager" blog. But if you can't get the money from friends or family members or your creditors won't allow you to extend your payments out a little bit longer, you may have to write a request letter that asks your employer to help you out.
Before you spend time crafting a letter of this type, make sure your company doesn't already have a formal protocol for requesting advances. Some colleges and companies provide a form that you fill out in lieu of an explanation letter. Talk to your human resources department or check the "Forms" page of your company's internal website to see if your company offers this type of form. Even if your company doesn't have a form, they may have rules laid out about the reasons for getting an advance. Some companies will only grant advance requests for bereavement, emergency home or car repairs, or medical emergencies.
If you're still going to write a letter, address it to the person who makes the decisions in your company, such as the Chief Financial Officer, or in a smaller company, address the letter to your boss. Include today's date near the top of the letter. Then use the first paragraph to thank the employer for the opportunity to work for the company and broach the subject directly. Say something like "Thank you for the opportunity to work as an engineer for Company X these past three years. The reason I am writing today is to request a salary advance of X dollars."
In the second paragraph, provide a brief explanation of the circumstances that are causing you to need an advance. Don't provide an overly-detailed explanation, just state the facts. For example, you could say something like "I am requesting the funds so that I may attend the funeral of my grandfather. Since this happened unexpectedly, I do not have the funds necessary." Hopefully you have a very good reason for appealing to your employer in this way, such as the need to pay for a new furnace, an emergency surgery, or the need to go to that funeral.
In the final paragraph, thank the employer once again for taking the time to read your letter, and then explain any next steps in the process. State the date by which you need a decision and when you have to have the money. If you're traveling for a funeral or you'll be out of work for a medical emergency, provide the dates of your absence. If your company policy states that you need a doctor's note for medical emergencies, attach one to the letter. Cordially sign the letter and either print and hand-deliver it to your boss or CFO, or send it via email – whatever type of correspondence works best at your workplace.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.