An employee is normally paid his or her salary at the end of the month for work already performed during the month. It is a mechanism put in place to facilitate the payment of wages by the employer.
Sudden illness of a loved one, separation, divorce, threat of eviction from the home, bills that are piling up: these are all situations that prevent the employee from meeting his or her current financial obligations. In such a situation, waiting for the payment of the salary at the end of the month can have serious consequences for the employee.
The employee can ask his employer for an advance on his salary. Under certain conditions, the employer will be obliged to grant it.
The employee must face real economic difficulties. The employer's refusal to grant an advance must be likely to cause the employee significant harm. The question of whether the employee is truly in need can be tricky and there are many borderline situations. The fact that the employee has wrongfully placed himself or herself in this financial predicament is irrelevant.
If the employee is truly in need, the employer can only refuse if it is impossible to grant the employee's request for an advance. Mere embarrassment or inconvenience to the employer is not sufficient to justify a refusal.
The employee may only request an advance on a limited and specific portion of his or her salary. An advance on salary may be obtained on the basic salary as well as all other forms of cash salary. The employer will deduct the salary advance from the employee's next salary payment.
A salary advance differs from a loan in several key elements. When the employee requests an advance that exceeds a certain amount, it is a loan. Unlike an advance, the employer is not obligated to make a loan to the employee. In all cases, the parties must settle in writing the question of the repayment of the loan, particularly in the event of termination of the employment relationship.