How should I approach the boss about my overdue raise?

Question: “Earlier this year, my boss promised me a salary increase by midyear. When I reminded him, he said he’d forgotten … and then did nothing. (Other employees have had similar issues with him.) How should I approach him about honoring his promise? This is putting a strain on our working relationship!” — Judy, Minneapolis


1) Schedule an appointment with your boss.
If he/she asks, be specific about the reason for the appointment: salary increase due based on performance.
2) Let your supervisor/boss know that it’s important to you that he follow through with what he promised you. He/She needs to respect and value you as an employee.
3)Be prepared. Know a dollar amount (specific) that you believe you deserve and be ready to support it with a bried list of accomplishments and goals met.

p.s. If he/she cancels for any reason, reschedule appointment for near future.

Since you have already mentioned it to him once in person, I would recommend that you do a follow-up letter indicating that you realize that he is very busy and may have forgotten about the previous conversation about your raise. Let him know that you would be glad to meet with him at his convenience, to discuss it further, if necessary. Good Luck!

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This could have been written by me a few months ago!
Here’s what I did:
I up a formal request outlining why I deserved one: length of time since last increase, new responsibilities, work successes, and put in the salary data from the Labor Department for my area of the country for the work I do (this was key).
I then hand delivered the typed request and then scheduled a meeting 2 weeks out to give him time to contemplate my request.
When the time came, he praised my research and not only gave me what I asked for but also a cash bonus on top of that.
Looking back, one of the things that I think put the icing on the cake was that it was all done in a professional manner and both of us knew it was a matter of importance at that point.
Good luck!

I completely understand. I wish it were as simple as scheduling an appointment with him but he finds ways of avoiding it. My annual review is due in November, we finally had the discussion regarding my review in late February but so far I still haven’t actually seen my review. I got my raise though, by going through my HR Director.

I think the answer might depend on your business size. If it is a large company with an HR department, I would send an e-mail with a cc to the HR department, with the e-mail specifically repeating the two previous conversations. For a smaller company, I would schedule an appointment with him, and would repeat the call EVERY day until the appointment was made.

“Planning without action is futile; Action without planning is fatal.” For the most part people do not look before they jump; many of us are often under pressure, and we feel uncomfortable and stressed about asking for a pay raise, so we fail to plan and control the situation, which makes achieving anything difficult. Simple planning and keeping control makes a big difference.

Lets be honest, there is no standard way to ask for a salary increase because of the human factor. Getting the pay raise will depend upon many things and one of them is the type of personality of your boss/supervisor. You can use various approaches: you can write; discuss informally; discuss with colleagues and hope the boss hear what is being said; drop hints to test the water; ask the supervisor politely; demand firmly; go over your supervisor’s head, or maybe even threaten to resign, secure another job offer, or simply resign. No matter what way you choose to ask for a salary increase, we must consider the observation of our supervisor from her/his point in view. Try to find out the real reason of your supervisor hesitation in honoring her/his words. All the appointments and letter writing in the world will get you no closer to a salary increase if there are no funds. Find the source of the problem and work on it to your advantage.

There may be many factors or just one reason why you might not get that pay increase but at least, you set yourself up for consideration for the next go around. On the other hand, even if you get the salary increase depending on how you acquired it might affect your future progress.

Remember have a plan of action and keeping control makes a big difference.


Do you assist this boss? If so, put yourself on his calendar. Make sure he knows the subject for the meeting. By scheduling time with him, you have his attention to discuss the issue without interruption. If he uses his calendar, every time he looks that will be his reminder about the upcoming meeting. If you do not assist him and can not put yourself on the calendar, request an appointment with him to discuss the issue. I had a similar situation and all was resolved once we had a chance to sit down and discuss the issue.

Here’s what I did a few years ago when I worked for a small company. While having a conversation with my boss I simply worked in some questions. I asked if he liked the way I was handling several responsibilities. Also if he was happy with my work performance in several areas. His answer was always affirmative and positive. I ended with “If you are happy with my work would you consider giving me a raise?” He was extremely embarrassed when he realized how long it had been since I had received an increase and that my job responsibilities has also grown. I got my raise. Sometimes it pays to ask questions and let them paint the picture.

Just ask him/her. I myself would appreciate the fact that one of my employees felt comfortable enough with me to approach me in this manner. If your boss is, for some reason, avoiding addressing you directly he/she needs to be dealt with in a direct way.