By accepting Sponsored Project awards, UAB agrees to comply with regulations and cost principles governing the use of such funds and to ensure that costs charged against those funds are allowable, allocable, reasonable, consistently applied, and conform to any exclusions or limitations set forth by the sponsored agreements.
Salary expenses generally represent the largest direct cost component of Sponsored Projects. Federal regulations and UAB's Effort Reporting Policy require that salary charges to sponsored projects be commensurate with the actual effort (not budgeted effort) devoted to those projects, and that the certification reasonably reflects the effort devoted to sponsored activities for the reporting period.
UAB’s effort reporting process is an important element of UAB’s overall process for Sponsored Project management. Other elements include, but are not limited to:
- Education and training;
- Accurately proposing the project budget at time of submission to the sponsoring agency;
- Promptly filing the HR Personnel Documents based on the sponsor awarded budget;
- Managing resources, including effort, during the performance of the Sponsored Project work; and
- PI and DEO review of the official monthly Sponsored Project account statements, including any account adjustments, in advance of the next monthly statement.
Collectively, these process elements help to establish a system of internal controls and ensure that sponsored awards are charged appropriately.
Deficiencies anywhere in the system of internal controls may present compliance risks under the False Claims Act, which potentially subject employees and the University to fines and/or penalties. The steps outlined and followed through these Effort Reporting Procedures serve to mitigate these risks.
DEFINITIONSIn the context of these procedures, the following definitions apply. Several of the following originate from the Effort Reporting Policy and are simply restated here for convenience.
Appoint, Change, and Terminate (ACT) - ACT consists of eight customized, user-friendly forms that serve as the employee's personnel record. The ACT form in the Administrative Systems is used to create (appoint) a new personnel record, to update (change) any part of that record, including role and efforts in an awarded/approved sponsored project budget, or to end (terminate) the relationship with UAB. ACT is integrated with the Administrative Systems HR and Financial applications.
Contemporaneous records - Source information, in a variety of forms, made at the time of the activity or that document the expectations of a UAB Project Employee. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following
Departmental Effort Officer (DEO) - The individual(s), regardless of title, who is/are designated by the department chair as the person(s) responsible for overseeing and managing the effort reporting and review process for the department. The UAB Project Employee is ultimately responsible for ensuring their effort is accurately reported.
Faculty appointment letters;
Faculty workload reports;
Clinic, on-call, and/or surgery schedules;
Research/laboratory records and meetings;
Grant proposal submissions;
Just in time (JIT) submissions;
Notices of grant award, budget, and budget justification; and
Progress report documentation (including changes in effort and its justification).
Institutional Base Salary (IBS) - The total salary and wages paid by the University to a UAB Project Employee that are included in the UAB Project Employee's Teacher's Retirement System (TRS) salary base or the total salary and wages paid by the University to any UAB Project Employee who is not eligible for the TRS.
Internal Control(s) - A process designed to provide reasonable assurance that the University meets its mission, regulatory, and legal obligations. Elements within this process include policies, procedures, and systems established by the University. The Effort Reporting Policy and this procedure, illustrating the designated individuals and responsibilities, define the internal controls established by the University for the effort reporting process.
Other Support - The disclosure made by the principal investigator and other key personnel at the request of some funding agencies. This disclosure reports all active or pending sponsored projects. The UAB Office of Sponsored Programs website includes specific instructions (https://www.uab.edu/research/home/osp) and FAQs (https://www.uab.edu/research/home/other-support-frequently-asked-questions) for completing the disclosure.
Principal Investigator (PI) - In the context of this policy, the individual responsible for the administrative management of the Sponsored Project Work. In case of multiple PIs, it is usually the corresponding PI. The PI, by customarily having an effort associated with the Sponsored Project Work, is also, at the same time, a UAB Project Employee.
Reclassification - The process for managing changes in effort to assigned projects of a UAB Project Employee. When the reclassification extends beyond the reporting period, an ACT will be generated to update the UAB Project Employee role and/or effort in the associated projects.
Sponsored Projects - Activities or operations conducted under awards made by the Federal government or other entities. The UAB Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for the submission of applications for the funding (sponsorship) of such projects.
Total UAB Effort - All of the activities or services a UAB Project Employee provides to the University for which the employee is compensated as part of their IBS.
UAB Project Employees - UAB employees who have any portion of their salary paid from a Sponsored Project, whether federally, state, or privately funded or from a mandatory or voluntary cost sharing source in support of a Sponsored Project. This includes Principal Investigators. The UAB Project Employee is ultimately responsible for ensuring their effort is accurately reported.
University Activities - Assigned duties, including research (both sponsor/externally funded and departmental/internally funded), instruction, administration, and other activities performed on behalf of the University. University Activities do not include: 1) clinical activities performed by UAB Project Employees while also employed by professional practice plans, such as the Health Services Foundation, the Veterans Administration, and Children's Hospital of Alabama; 2) external consulting activities; 3) paid professional public service activities conducted on one's own time; and 4) activities compensated by an entity other than the University.
A. TrainingUAB Project Employees and DEOs are required to complete effort report training.
The DEO is responsible for ensuring all UAB Project Employees have completed effort reporting training.Further effort reporting and grants management training will be provided to the DEO and Project Employees in certain instances of noncompliance and internal control weaknesses.
Failure to complete training may result in reallocation of salary to a non-sponsored account from the Sponsored Project account(s).
B. Sponsored Project submission and award
At both the time a grant application or proposal is submitted and the award notice (i.e., Notice of Grant Award (NOGA)) or contract is received, the principal investigator (PI) or designee will verify the appropriateness of the effort declared on the project and approved in the award for all UAB Project Employees sources to the project to verify that there are no conflicts of time committed. Any conflicts must be resolved before that person's salary and fringe benefits can be charged to the sponsored project account or to an at-risk account (set up prior to funds being received).
For sponsored program submissions requiring disclosure of Other Support:
Each UAB Project Employee who must submit an Other Support disclosure will assure that t is reasonable and consistent with other current institutional records, such as OSP project funding listings, CIRB key/responsible listings, concurrent effort reports, and departmental records for non-research activities. The DEO should be consulted as necessary in the preparation of the Other Support disclosure.
In accordance with OSP's standard operating procedures for applications it submits, the OSP will verify that total research effort reported on the Other Support page does not exceed 100%. If it does, OSP will notify the UAB Project Employee and the project's PI for further review and requisite corrections.
At the time of the award, the OSP will review materials associated with this sponsored activity, and if there are no omissions, discrepancies, or errors, the OSP will forward the award to Grants and Contracts Accounting and to the appropriate departmental personnel. Grants and Contracts Accounting will enter the new project information into the Oracle system. Once an account number has been generated the appropriate departmental personnel will be notified. Prior to submitting a funding source change, the DEO or departmental designee should determine whether or not all UAB Project Employees to be assigned to the project award have complete effort reporting training. If so, the salary allocation may be entered into the Oracle system. If not, the DEO or departmental designee will notify the UAB Project Employee(s) who have not satisfactorily completed effort reporting education and the project's PI that this requirement must be fulfilled.
C. Effort report process elements for exempt employees
C.1. Effort report system. UAB's effort reporting system is the mechanism used to confirm that salaries and wages charged to Sponsored Projects are reasonable in relation to the actual work performed. Certification of an effort report is the UAB Project Employee's agreement that the report reasonably reflects the total activities for which he or she is compensated by the University. This method provides auditors and others with the means to determine whether salaries and wages charged to Sponsored Projects in support of the activity for which the UAB Project Employee is compensated are adequately supported and documented.
Certified effort reports requiring later correction suggest a potential deficiency in the department's Internal Controls. Additional training and/or changes in processes may be required as part of a corrective action plan. See sections H and J regarding corrections and potential compliance concerns.
C.2. Effort reports. UAB Project Employees must certify effort reports specifying the percent of effort of the various UAB Activities in which he/she was involved. Certification of the effort report is made by the UAB Project Employee, or, in some circumstances, the certification may be made on behalf of the employee by the project's PI or another person in the department who has direct knowledge or suitable means of verification of that employee's activities. PIs and DEOs are responsible for ensuring that the UAB Project Employees understand which accounts represent their sponsored activities and how the effort actually relates to those accounts.
C.3. Timing of effort reports. Effort reports are generated approximately fifteen (15) days after the end of the reporting period and distributed to appropriate DEOs for their review and action. Within twenty (20) days of receipt, DEOs will complete their review (reference to below) and notify UAB Project Employees that their effort reports are available for their review (reference to below) and action. UAB Project Employees' effort reports are required to be certified no later than sixty (60) days after the end of the reporting period. This means if the DEO completes his/her review on the 20th day, the effort report must be certified within the next twenty-five (25) days. Reports not certified within sixty (60) days are late and are a violation of these procedures and the University's Effort Reporting Policy.
C.4. Calculation of effort. The effort of UAB Project Employees on a particular project must be reported as a percentage of the employee's Total UAB Effort. UAB's effort reporting system records effort rounded to the nearest whole number.
D. Effort report process elements for nonexempt employeesNonexempt UAB Project Employees record time spent on sponsored projects in UAB's timekeeping system.
E. Review of effort reportsE.1. DEO review. The DEOs (or other designated departmental personnel) will review the effort reports and verify that the effort listed for each individual on each sponsored activity is consistent with information provided in the Sponsored Project application as well as with the salary paid to those individuals during the reporting period. (See also section E.2. regarding the UAB Project Employee's review responsibilities.) Additional review is required for tenured and tenure-track faculty with greater than 95% sponsored project effort (See E.3.). DEOs (or other designated departmental personnel) will make necessary adjustments for any applicable salary cap, cost sharing, or other corrective measures. Prior to making any such adjustments, the DEO will consult with the UAB Project Employee and the project PIs as applicable.
Upon completion, DEOs will notify the appropriate UAB Project Employees that their reports are available for their review and action.
Information sources that may be helpful in understanding an individual's research activities for the period under review, include but are not limited to:
E.2. UAB Project Employee review. The UAB Project Employee will access the effort reports and verify that the reported effort represents the effort expended on their sponsored projects and is reasonable, allowable, and properly allocated. The effort report should be consistent with Contemporaneous Records and University Activity reports (see E.1. above), with recognized variances between any records explainable. If the information contained in the report is not a reasonable estimate of actual work performed or does not identify all of his/her UAB Activities, the UAB Project Employee will notify the DEO or departmental designee and the project PI(s), as applicable, of needed corrections. UAB Project Employees must certify an effort report only when correct and accurate. By certifying, UAB Project Employees certify the accuracy of the time spent on University Activities.
Recent Sponsored Project Other Support documents
Prior period's effort report
Prior > 95% review assessments
UAB/VA Joint Appointment Memorandum of Understanding
Awarded grant/contract personnel budgets
IRAP PT Module - project personnel budgets
Oracle GA - budgets and account statements
OSP eReports: Principal Investigator Project Report, including Non-sponsored Funded Research and Responsible Personnel Report
Other UAB regulatory project personnel lists (for example, IACUC, IRB, OH&S, etc.)
HR Payroll Information Extract (PIE) - Labor Distribution (LD) Report
The entire process for review, revision, and certification must be completed within sixty (60) days of the end of the reporting period to which they apply. See section G below regarding late effort reports.
E.3. Tenured and tenure-track faculty with greater than 95% sponsored project effort. UAB has not established a cap on the percentage of sponsored research. For certain UAB employees, such as technicians, other research support personnel, and non-tenure-track faculty, it is not uncommon for the majority or even the entirety of their effort to be devoted to Sponsored Projects. However, responsibilities of tenured and tenure-track faculty often require activities beyond Sponsored Projects, such as teaching/instruction, administrative duties within the UAB college, school, or department, service to committees, and writing (i.e., development and submission) of competitive grant/contract proposals. Effort distributions must reflect such activities and be associated with a non-sponsored account. While high sponsored effort for tenured or tenure-track faculty is not prohibited or discouraged, it requires a full understanding and documentation of the circumstance(s). An additional review process is established when the effort is >95%:College/school and/or department review. College/school and/or department designees review ACT documents for all funding source changes where funding on Sponsored Projects is >95%. The designated College/school and department finance officer run and review a monthly Oracle PIE report to identify reclasses that increase faculty effort to >95%. This review will follow the review outlined in the below section for the DEO.
DEO review at time of effort report. At the time the DEO receives the effort report, the DEO will review the effort with the division/department administrator and the tenure/tenure-track faculty as necessary to ensure effort for all non-research activities (such as teaching/instruction, administrative duties within the UAB college/school or the department, serving on committees, and development and submission of competitive grant proposals) is accurately reflected. Once the review is complete, the DEO will enter the review notes into the comment section of the Oracle Workflow notification to document all changes made. Prior to making any such adjustments, the DEO will consult with the UAB Project Employee, and the project PI(s) as applicable.
The following is a list of information sources available to assist the DEO. This is not an exhaustive list as there may be other reports and information sources that may be helpful in understanding and documenting the faculty member’s University Activities for the period under review.
E.4. Effort on industry-funded or industry-sponsored clinical trials. The PI must have effort assigned to clinical trials. The certified effort reports for the PI and all other UAB Project Employees must reflect the actual University Activities performed. The manner in which this is reflected on the UAB Project Employee’s effort report depends upon whether the industry-funded or industry-sponsored clinical trial is assigned to a combined or individual industry clinical trials account. The combined industry clinical trial account is reported on the effort report as a General Ledger (GL) account and the UAB Project Employee’s effort is calculated as total combined effort for all of their industry clinical trial activities. The school/department is to maintain supporting source records within the school/department related to individual effort allocated to each industry clinical trial.
Appointment Letter – Research, Teaching, Service, Clinical (do not count clinical practice employment (HSF, VA, etc))
Curricula Vitae (CVs)
Departmentally Funded Research Projects
Sponsored project proposal submissions
External Activity and Professional Public Service Activity reports
HR Payroll Information Extract (PIE) – Labor Distribution (LD) Report
Fee-for-service activities handled by University Contracts
NOTE: While reviews described in this section pertain to tenured and tenure-track faculty with >95% funding from sponsored activities, this is not to indicate that no reviews are required when sponsored funding for tenured and tenure-track faculty is 95% or less. Additionally, the automatic review requirement must not be inferred as a directive or instruction requiring tenured and tenure-track faculty to not expend greater than 95% sponsored research effort or certify inaccurate effort reports in order to mitigate such reviews.
If the UAB Project Employee is assigned to an individual clinical trial account, effort assigned to a unique Grant Account (GA) for each clinical trial. If it is not clear which clinical trials accounting method applies, UAB Project Employees and DEOs must contact their department’s senior fiscal officer or executive administrator for clarification.
The manner in which the clinical trial activity is reflected on the effort report should be appropriately reflected on the Other Support to ensure consistency in reporting. See OSP’s Other Support guidelines for additional information.
E.5. Non-sponsor-funded research projects. All UAB Project Employees active in non-sponsor-funded research projects should have their effort charged to an account associated with the project.Summer salary paid from any source is in return for effort and work performed during the summer term directly related to the purpose of the funds. For example, payments from Sponsored Projects must be directly related to the actual effort performed for each of the projects; and, payments from faculty activity accounts, departmental accounts, or other unrestricted sources, should be for effort related to the College/School missions of teaching, research, extension, service, or other scholarly pursuits.
E.6. Nine-Month Faculty with Sponsored Research Activities during the Summer Term. In general, academic-year appointees may receive additional compensation of various amounts, subject to certain limitations, for conducting research, teaching, or service during the summer. Drawing summer salary (i.e., payments for such summer assignments) does not change a nine-month appointment to a twelve-month appointment. For additional information on Nine-Month Pay and Summer Pay see UAB Payroll Services’ General Overview, http://financialaffairs.uab.edu/content.asp?id=303447, and Summer Pay, http://financialaffairs.uab.edu/content.asp?id=360266.
The following are examples of service/teaching and Sponsored Projects performed over various time periods (i.e., nine-month academic and summer terms) and how they should be presented in an effort report (shaded in grey).
Example 1: A Second-Half Effort Report for a Nine-Month Faculty member performing both Service/Teaching and Sponsored Projects research during the Nine-Month term and not performing any summer activities during the summer period, May 15 – August 14.
| ||Monthly Assignment % || |
|Activity ||Apr ||May ||Jun ||Jul ||Aug ||Sep ||Effort Report to Reflect: |
|Service/Teaching (GL) ||60% ||50% ||- ||- ||70% ||80% ||65% |
|Spon. Projects (GA) ||40% ||50% ||- ||- ||30% ||20% ||35% |
| || || || || || || || |
|Total ||100% ||100% || || ||100% ||100% ||100% |
Example 2: A Second-Half Effort Report for a Nine-Month Faculty member performing Service/Teaching during the Nine-Month term and performing Sponsored Projects research with no other University activities during the summer term only, May 15 – August 14.
| ||Monthly Assignment % || |
|Activity ||Apr ||May ||Jun ||Jul ||Aug ||Sep ||Effort Report to Reflect: |
|Service/Teaching (GL) ||100% ||50% ||0% ||0% ||50% ||100% ||50% |
|Spon. Projects (GA) ||0% ||50% ||100% ||100% ||50% ||0% ||50% |
| || || || || || || || |
|Total ||100% ||100% ||100% ||100% ||100% ||100% ||100% |
Example 3: A Second-Half Effort Report for a Nine-Month Faculty member performing Service/Teaching during the Nine-Month term and performing Sponsored Projects research for a one-month period –July.
| ||Monthly Assignment % || |
|Activity ||Apr ||May ||Jun ||Jul ||Aug ||Sep ||Effort Report to Reflect: |
|Service/Teaching (GL) ||100% ||100% ||- ||0% ||100% ||100% ||80% |
|Spon. Projects (GA) ||0% ||0% ||- ||100% ||0% ||0% ||20% |
| || || || || || || || |
|Total ||100% ||100% || ||100% ||100% ||100% ||100% |
E.6.i. Sponsored Research Requirements. Payment from Sponsored Projects must be directly related to effort on the research award/project in direct proportion to the effort spent on the project during the period. Additionally for Sponsored Projects, the rules of the funding source (i.e., grantor or contractor) must permit the proposed summer appointment, and funding must be available. Faculty are reminded of the expectation of federal sponsors that during any month in which any portion of their salary is charged to one or more grants, the faculty’s effort in that month should benefit the project(s) funded by the grant(s) proportionally.
In general, National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored research awards restrict senior project personnel paid compensation to no more than 2/9ths of their regular salary unless prior approval is obtained from NSF. Other sponsors may allow up to 3/9ths of their academic salary in the summer.
E.6.ii. 100% Sponsored Summer Research. Faculty members intending to certify 100% effort to Sponsored Projects or charge their full summer salary to Sponsored Projects must be aware that they have no remaining effort available for new proposal development, teaching, or other administrative duties and precluded from making such certification otherwise.
In other words, if a faculty member is involved in administrative, non-Sponsored Projects, or other activities, including but not limited to teaching or prepping for the new term, or is directing his/her efforts toward other exploratory research, or new or competitive grant/contract proposals/submissions during the summer period, he/she is precluded from devoting 100% effort to or requesting three months of salary from those Sponsored Projects.
For tenured and tenure-earning faculty, 100% sponsored research effort during the summer term must be reviewed, approved, and contemporaneously documented by the Department Chair’s Office, and the School/College Dean’s Office in advance of approving the Nonrecurring Element ACT document for summer pay. Once approved the faculty member and their DEO will be notified and will receive copies of the review and approval for their records. Documentation must be retained by the department for a period of six (6) years from the final financial closeout date by Grants Accounting.
F. Changes in status and/or effort
The PIs and DEOs are responsible for verifying and following sponsoring agencies’ notification requirements related to changes in status and/or effort.
For each sponsored project, any UAB Project Employee with identified project effort must be initially assigned to the project by a personnel document (ACT), which is based on the awarded/approved sponsored project budget. Since UAB only records effort in whole percentages, the minimum assigned effort can be certified at no less than 1%. This includes non-sponsor-funded research projects and mandatory and voluntary cost sharing arrangements. This initial assignment will enable the project to be listed on the UAB Project Employee’s effort report. Unless there are extenuating circumstances reviewed by the department senior fiscal officer and OSP, UAB Project Employees identified as principal investigators or Senior/Key Personnel are expected to have effort associated to the project.
Once assigned, a determination by the UAB Project Employee at time of certification of whether changes to assigned effort are necessary and the process for managing changes in effort to assigned projects depends on the circumstances.
Precision Tolerance: A precise assessment of effort is not always feasible nor is it expected. Accordingly, reliance is placed on estimates in which a degree of tolerance is appropriate. If a reasonable estimate of the actual effort is within five (5) percent shown on the assigned effort report for the project under review, it is permissible to certify the assigned effort level shown on the effort report. However, variances of over 5% between actual effort and assigned effort should be corrected, consistent with this policy, prior to certification.
If the budgeted effort is listed at 50% on the effort report for the period under review, the precision tolerance for certifying means the actual effort could be as high as 55% or as low as 45% without requiring correction prior to certification.
While the precision tolerance is 5%, this does not mean activities at or below 5% do not need to be reported. UAB records effort in whole percentage points. Accordingly, the minimum amount of work on a project should be reflected as no less than 1%, irrespective of the precision tolerance. The activity must be documented on the report before the report is certified.
An investigator works only very briefly on a sponsored project such that a reasonable estimate of actual effort rounded to the nearest whole number is 1%. The investigator should not omit the project from their effort report.
Regardless of the precision of tolerance, if no work was expended on the project, a change to the effort report is required.
A project is assigned 4% effort. However, upon review the investigator did not work on the project for the entire period.While within the 5% tolerance, it would not be appropriate to certify since no work was performed. As such the effort for this project needs to be changed to 0% prior to certification.
If it is determined that the difference in the assigned effort and actual effort is outside the range of tolerance, or that an activity is not represented on the report, or that no work was done on a project listed on the report, a change needs to be processed by one of the following two processes depending on the circumstances:
Temporary change affecting the current period: Changes are considered material and must be reported on personnel documents (i.e.,reclass) that apply to that period only.
Permanent change: Changes that affect the current reporting period and are expected to extend beyond that period (i.e., permanent change in commitment) are considered material and must be reported on personnel documents (i.e., ACT) that apply to the current period under review and to future periods.
F.1. Vacation, sick time, military leave, FMLA, and other time off (other than disability). If a faculty member, staff member, or other individual is expending effort on multiple Sponsored Projects at the time prior to the time off, the charges to the sponsored projects during the time off should be consistent with the usual effort/payroll allocation. An extended leave may have an impact on a key person’s ability to meet his or her effort commitment to a sponsored project. If an extended leave lasts for 90 days or more or as specified in the award, the department must notify OSP to request sponsor approval of the extended leave.
Dr. X, a 12-month faculty member, is absent for one month because of vacation and illness. This time was accrued by Dr. X as part of his regular employee benefits. During the remainder of the year, Dr. X spends 80% of his Total UAB Effort on NIH projects. Dr. X’s effort/payroll allocation, reflected in his ACT documents, is 80% to those NIH projects. The 80% effort/payroll allocation to the NIH projects is appropriate also for the month of vacation and illness.
F.2. Academic Leave of Absence (“Sabbatical”). An Academic Leave of Absence (ALA) is a benefit that is earned by a faculty member. The cost of paid ALA is covered by the faculty member’s primary department.
For each Sponsored Project on which the faculty member will remain active during an ALA, the faculty member shall provide his/her research plans for the ALA to the respective sponsor’s program officer.
An allocation of each month’s compensation paid during the ALA shall be made to each Sponsored Project in proportion to the amount of time spent on such project during the ALA. The residual portion of the month’s compensation is paid from the department’s account.
Prior to an approved ALA, Dr. Y’s effort/payroll allocation was 75% to an unrestricted ledger account (GL) and 25% to a Sponsored Project account (GA), commensurate with his devoting 25% effort to the Sponsored Project. Prior to the start of the ALA, Dr. Y tells the sponsor that he plans to continue expending the same amount of time to the Sponsored Project during the ALA as was being done prior to the ALA. The department account will pay for the non-sponsored project time. Thus, for the ALA period, 75% of Dr. Y’s effort/payroll allocation is to the department account and 25% of his effort/payroll allocation is to the Sponsored Project’s account.
F.3. Disability, terminal, and paid parental leave. Payments for disability, paid parental leave, or payments for unused vacation time upon employment termination are not direct costs to sponsored projects and are not subject to effort reporting.
Each department must maintain and follow appropriate procedures for approving changes in effort and/or salary allocation for UAB Project Employees, regardless of whether prior notification is required by the funding agency.
G. Late effort reports
Financial Affairs (FA) will notify the UAB Project Employee and the Employee’s college/school dean, department chair, and DEO within one week after the effort report is deemed late. Additionally, FA will move all salary expenses associated with sponsored projects for the current period (and subsequent periods) to the designated departmental account.
The college/school must initiate and document a review of the circumstances resulting in the late report; develop and implement a corrective action plan to mitigate reoccurrences of the resulting circumstances; and work with the UAB Project Employee, and the PIs associated with his/her projects as appropriate, until an effort report is accurately certified. The University Compliance Office will conduct random quality assurance reviews of this process.
When the college/school has completed its review and the UAB Project Employee has certified the effort report, the college/school will notify FA - Department of Cost and Space Analysis of its findings and corrective actions, including appropriate allocation of effort for the periods reviewed and associated Sponsored Project salary expenses. FA will take corrective action, as necessary, and apply salary expenses to the sponsored project accounts in accordance with the certified effort report.
H. Recertification of a previously certified effort report
Errors related to a previously certified effort report must be corrected using the Recertification Form. The Recertification Form (Attachment A) must be completed in its entirety, signed, reviewed, and approved by the department and college/schools, and filed with FA. Correction may require a refund to the sponsor. The University Compliance Office will conduct random quality assurance reviews of this process.
I. Compliance risk monitoring
University Compliance will routinely assess management’s effort report monitoring process and perform risk-based reviews of effort reporting for overall compliance with UAB policy and federal requirements. UA System Department of Internal Audit also may select effort reporting compliance as part of its annual audit related to OMB Uniform Guidance.
Compliance risks related to effort reporting include, but are not limited to the following:
Inaccurate or incomplete effort reporting;
Incorrect or inappropriate cost sharing;
Violation of sponsor-imposed salary cap limitations;
Unallowable costs charged to grants; and
Inaccurate or incomplete documentation to support charges to grants.
Noncompliance with these procedures will result in commensurate consequences for both employees and UAB.
Consequences to employees may result from:
- Individuals not meeting the sixty (60) day certification requirement;
- Individuals certifying effort reports found to be falsified;
- Individuals having to decertify previously certified effort reports; or
- Individuals certifying levels of effort that do not appear reasonable.
Consequences to University may result from:
- Effort reports being certified by individuals other than the employee or someone who has “first-hand” knowledge of 100 percent of the employee's time;
- Effort reports not encompassing all of the activities performed by the employee under the terms of their employment;
- The levels of effort reported not appearing reasonable, given the responsibilities of the individual; or
- Effort reports not certified and re-certified effort reports submitted and not approved 90 days after the federal project end date could result in unreimbursed personnel and F&A costs that are otherwise valid.
The University Compliance Office will periodically receive reports of required training, specialized training, late effort reports, and recertified effort reports. Data will be summarized and reported to the school’s/college’s Executive Risk Oversight Committee and the President’s Risk Cabinet for leadership awareness and action.
EFFORT REPORTING FAQs
How should educational and research related administrative activities performed for UAB be paid?
Educational and research-related administrative activities performed for UAB, including as secondary assignments, are considered University Activities and should be paid as UAB salary.
As a component of the Institutional Base Salary (IBS) the time should be reflected in effort calculations.
How can a DEO or departmental administrator find out if a UAB Project Employee has completed the effort reporting training?
These training records are available as IRAP eReports: DEO Effort Reporting Training Report and Effort Report Training Report. These eReports reflect completion of currently available training courses. The reports will be revised when new courses are made available.
When is the delinquency deadline for the third quarter 2016 effort report?
The deadline is 90 days from the end of the quarter (i.e., December 31, 2016).
Are there any exempt UAB Project Employees that will not be certifying their own effort reports?
Yes, 04 irregulars and those individuals that are terminating.
Are Graduate Assistants (GAs) classified as exempt or nonexempt?
GAs are classified as non-exempt and will not receive an effort report. They will use timesheets to document any sponsored project activities.
Are Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) classified as exempt or nonexempt?
GRAs and GTAs regardless of salary are considered exempt and will receive and certify their own effort reports.
How does the change from quarterly to semiannual reporting impact sponsored project management?
Change to semi-annual reporting does not change the existing expectation that sponsored projects should be managed monthly. Principal Investigators, Award Managers, Financial Officers and Business Officers will continue to be able to monitor salaries and other transactions though the standard monthly financial reports and at any time via the Oracle Admin System. Please note that depending on the sponsored project requirements and end date certain projects will require attention and action prior to and sometimes well in advance of the end of the effort reporting period and certification date. Waiting until the end of the 60 day certification period for adjustments may impact the ability to recover costs from certain sponsored projects.
Will training/education be provided?
Yes, beginning in January 2017 all UAB Project Employees and DEOs will receive a notification from the Learning Management System that effort report training has been assigned. The notification will provide access instructions and completion date. Training will be required of all UAB Project Employees. This includes UAB Project Employees that took the training under the previous policy. The Schools/College will also determine if other employees should be assigned to take the LMS course.
The Schools/College Executive Risk Oversight Committees (EROCs) will track and ensure compliance with the education requirement, with oversight by the President's Risk Cabinet.
Why is my effort report showing 0% effort when I worked on the project?
In the example below, Sponsored Project G, was assigned 1% effort (reference to §B, E.4 and F) in the last month of the six month effort reporting period. The actual project effort by the UAB Project Employee was within the Precision Tolerance (§ F) of the assigned effort. For the six month reporting period this averages to 0.17% effort (1%/6 months). As a result of the system’s rounding the effort is represented as 0%.
|Sponsored Project ||Monthly % ||6 Mo. ||% Reported on |
| ||Oct ||Nov ||Dec ||Jan ||Feb ||March ||Avg. (%) ||Effort Report |
|A ||5 ||outside the project award period ||0.83 ||1 |
|B ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1.00 ||1 |
|C || || || ||1 ||1 ||1 ||0.50 ||1 |
|D || || ||2 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1.33 ||1 |
|E ||5 ||5 ||5 ||10 ||10 ||10 ||7.50 ||8 |
|F ||10 ||4 ||10 ||10 ||16 ||10 ||10.0 ||10 |
|G || || || || || ||1 ||0.17 ||0 |
|H || || || || || ||0 ||n/a ||project not listed |
If my effort report shows 0% how do I know if this is a result of the system rounding down or if it means that no work was done on the project?
In the example above, Sponsored Project H, was assigned 1% effort (reference to §B, E.4 and F) in the last month of the six month effort reporting period. Upon review, the UAB Project Employee did NOT work on the project. Once the reclass change is processed the project will not be listed on the effort report.
An update to an employee’s personnel (ACT) document is needed when an employee is budgeted for salary support on a new award for a sponsored project or there is a permanent change (reference to §F). Can the employee have assigned effort in an amount less than 1%?
No. For each sponsored project, any UAB Project Employee with identified project effort must be initially assigned to the project by a personnel document (ACT), which is based on the awarded/approved sponsored project budget. Since UAB only records effort in whole percentages, the minimum assigned effort can be certified at no less than 1%. (reference to § F)
Can a 9-month employee working during the summer assign and certify effort to their summer assignment for work on a sponsored project performed during other months of the year in order to cover their summer salary rather than using another fund source for their summer salary?
For example, Employee Omega performed work on Sponsored Project A during the fall months (H1 certification period), but wishes to assign and certify effort for this work to their effort report for the H2 certification period covering their summer months even though they did not work on Sponsored Project A during the summer.
- No. Effort certified to a sponsored project must be consistent with the work performed during the certification period. Salary expenses charged to a sponsored project should coincide with the time period during which the work was actually performed. If no work on a sponsored project occurred during the summer months, then no effort should be assigned and certified to that period.