Eventually even the best employees will find themselves dealing with problems outside of work, which are significant enough to interfere with their duties. This will typically come in the form of illness, a death in the family, or another catastrophic event that will require them to take time off work. The employee may find that the savings they have is not sufficient to cover the emergency they’re dealing with. In this scenario the employee may request a payroll advance from you to help them, but before you grant it to them here are some things to consider.
How Does A Salary Advance Work?
The advance is a loan which is provided to employees. It is taken out of wages that you intend to pay them in the future. It differs from the typical loans that are given between friends or family members. Whereas a friend or loved one may back you back at some future time once they get the money, there is no specific time in which this is expected.
An advance from an employer, on the other hand, is much more formal. There will be repayment terms which you’ll be expected to meet, with consequences if you do not. The repayments will usually be taken out of your future earnings, and you can use an entire paycheck to pay it off or spread the payments across multiple checks to keep some funds in your pocket. No employer is required by law to give such advances to their employees, but there are a number of best practices that should be followed.
Best Practices For Payroll Advances
Favoritism should be avoided when it comes to issuing these advances. In other words, if you’re willing to give it to one employee then you should also be willing to grant it to all of them. Generally, it is best to maintain a policy which is established so that everyone can be held to the exact same standards. For example, employees should work for you for a minimum time period before you’re open to granting them a loan, such as 12 months.
You should also set limits on how much an employee can request. It obviously doesn’t make much sense to issue an employee an advance which is substantially higher than their monthly or quarterly earnings, because then they can quit and you will never get the money back. Limits should also be placed on the number of times that an employee may request an advance within a single year.
Also, another critical factor to keep in mind is that when you issue an employee an advance, the deductions that you take out of their check must not result in them earning less than the federal or local minimum wage, otherwise you would be in violation of the law. You should also consider charging interest on the advance for the simple courtesy of providing the service along with the paperwork that you will be required to process.