A reader writes:
I started working for my new employer on September 15, 2008. I was pregnant and I had to go on maternity leave on January 1, 2009. The company did not pay me while I was on maternity leave. I have financial problems and could not pay rent. The owner switched off my electricity and I decided to go back to work. I started working again in mid-February, with my baby one month old. I would like to ask my boss if the company can help me with a loan to sort out my financial crisis. Is it right to ask this of a boss?
First, I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
Do you have any other options besides asking your boss? Family, friends, others you could ask for help? In general, I don't think it's a good idea to ask your employer for a loan or pay advance, especially when you're new to the company.
Of course, if you're truly desperate, you're desperate, and you've got to do what you've got to do -- but I would exhaust all other options first (including looking into public assistance programs and bank loans, if you're eligible).
But I'll be honest: I've never been in this situation (on either side) and I might be wrong about this. What do other people think?
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope things turn around for you soon.