Topping Off Leave Pay

In certain circumstances, employees may supplement (or "top off") PFMLA wage replacement benefits by using applicable paid time off benefits.

At MIT, a top off is permitted only if an employee is on an approved PFMLA leave, is receiving Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP) or State Formula Rate payments, and the MIT paid time off benefit normally covers the reason for the underlying leave.

For example, an employee on an approved PFMLA medical leave may use accrued Sick Time to top off SIRP benefits during the leave. However, vacation time may not be used in lieu of Sick Time or to top off SIRP or other State Formula Rate payments.

See below for details.

Request to Top Off Leave Pay

Understanding Top Off

Review this chart of paid time off that can be used for top offs, and see our FAQs below.

Leave Type/Pay PTO That Can Be Used for Top Offs PTO That Cannot Be Used for Top Offs

Medical Leave for an employee’s own Serious Health Condition

  • SIRP (benefits-eligible staff) or State Formula Rate pay (non benefits-eligible staff)

Sick time

Personal time (support and service staff only)


Bonding Leave

  • State Formula Rate pay


Accrued sick time
Personal time

Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition (including Family Member who is a Covered Servicemember)

  • State Formula Rate pay

Sick time (up to 40 hours per year)

Personal time (support and service staff only)



How is the top off calculated?

When you are on SIRP, you receive 80% of your pay. Topping off allows you to supplement that 80% pay with 20% of your sick time, to bring your pay to 100%.


An hourly paid employee who works 40 hours per week and has 150 hours of accrued sick time is going out on a continuous medical leave for 4 weeks. The employee has chosen to be paid SIRP and to top off using their accrued sick time.

Leave Dates:  March 4, 2024 – March 29, 2024

This employee is requesting to top off their entire 4 weeks (20 days) of leave. The employee will use 8 hours per week of sick time to supplement SIRP. In total, this amounts to 32 hours of sick time for the 4 weeks of leave. The employee will receive SIRP payments and sick payments in order to receive 100% of their pay. Their sick leave balance will be reduced by 32 hours down to 118 hours, not including any newly accrued sick time during the leave.

Is the top off calculated differently for salaried and hourly employees?

The top off is generally the same for salaried and hourly.  The only difference is that if the leave is for only part of a pay period, we use a daily rate calculation to determine the amount of top off required, rather than an hourly rate calculation. 


This employee is on a 3-week medical leave and has chosen to be paid SIRP and to top off using their accrued sick leave. As of the date of their leave, the employee has 150 hours of accrued sick time. A salaried employee working full-time (100% effort) is assumed under MIT’s sick leave policy to work 40 hours per week. 

Leave Dates – March 4, 2024 – March 22, 2024

Salaried staff are paid semi-monthly as follows:

Pay Period 1: March 1, 2024 – March 15, 2024

  • Total work days in pay period: 11
  • Days employee worked during pay period: 1 (March 1)
  • Days employee was on leave during pay period: 10 (March 4 – 8 and March 11 - 15)

Pay Period 2: March 16, 2024– March 31, 2024

  • Total work days during pay period: 10
  • Days employee worked during pay period: 5  (March 25 - March 29)
  • Days employee was on leave during pay period: 5  (March 18 - 22)

The employee will be paid 20% of their daily rate to top off SIRP, which represents 24 hours of sick time to top off their 15 days (3 weeks) of leave.

This time will be deducted from their accrued sick time to leave a balance of 126 hours, not including any sick time accrued after the initial date of their leave.

How frequently will a top off payment be made?

Once a leave is approved and the top off has been submitted to Payroll, the top off will either be processed on a weekly basis or bimonthly basis.   (Please note these supplemental top off payments may take 2-3 weeks to process.)

How will I know I have been paid my top off?

You will see a separate line on your paystub that says supplemental salary. This is the pay type used to process these top off payments.

I have to take a leave due to a seriously ill parent. How does top off work for this type of leave?

If you have not used your sick family leave, you can use this time to top off the State Rate pay. Please review Family Leaves Policy Section 4.4.2

If you are an hourly paid employee and have not used your 3 days of personal leave in your anniversary year, you may also elect to use this time to top off the State Rate pay.

Is the top off for sick family leave different than for a medical leave?

The only difference is that leave to care for a Seriously Ill Family Member leave is paid at the State Rate, which is generally lower than your regular pay. Therefore, you will use up your Sick Family or personal time to top off this type of leave more quickly than for a leave for your own serious illness. 

Can I request a top off after the start date of my leave?

If you decide to top off your leave with sick time after it has already been approved, you may apply by completing the top off form for salaried or hourly employees. This top off will be processed prospectively from the date of your application, not from the beginning of your leave. However, if you are within the first 15 days of your leave and request a top off, the top off can be applied back to the first day of leave.

How long does it take for the top off to be processed?

In order for your top off to be processed, first your leave case must be approved by Workpartners. Generally, your paycheck will reflect the topped off amount within 2-3 weeks after you have submitted your top off request, unless there is a delay in the approval of the leave due to submittal timing of the documentation required.  

I have accrued more sick time since I went on leave. Can I request another top off? 

While employees accrue sick time during a leave, any sick time accrued after the initial date of the leave cannot be used once the leave has begun. Sick Time accrued while on leave may be used during any new leave. Separate top off forms must be completed for each leave. As an example, if upon returning from a continuous leave, a new intermittent leave is needed to transition back to your regular schedule, your accrued sick time may be used to top off this new intermittent leave. To request top off for this intermittent leave you would need to complete a new top off form.

I am an hourly paid employee and work on the night shift. Is my shift differential for hourly employees included in top off?

Yes, if you are paid a shift differential that is in effect immediately preceding your leave period, the shift differential is included in the top off.

I was in the hospital so I could not contact Workpartners until I was discharged. Will my top off be retroactive to the first day of my leave?

Medical documentation is due within 15 days of the first day of leave. You may also request to top off during this 15-day period and it will be retroactive to your start date. If you are in the hospital and unable to submit the top off form, it will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

How does the top off work for intermittent leave?

You may request to use sick time or sick family time to top off either a medical or sick family intermittent leaves. In order to calculate the leave time and the top off, MIT’s Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office will run a weekly report to track approved intermittent absences and will process the top off for that time in the following week.

If one of the days while on leave is a holiday and I’m getting paid SIRP benefits, how do I get paid?

Under MIT policy, if you are on SIRP, holidays falling within your leave are paid at the SIRP rate. If you requested a top off it will apply to the holiday.

I have approval for an extension of my leave. How does the top off process work for the extension?

When you complete a top off form, it will ask if you would like to continue your top off if your leave is extended. If you answered yes and you still have available sick time, it will be applied to the extension of your leave once the extension has been approved. There may be a delay in processing the top off payment if approval of your leave extension is delayed.

Need Help?

If you have questions about top offs or MIT's sick leave policies, please contact the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office (DSMLO) at