Personnel Costs for Sponsored Programs
Handbook Section and Topic Page Links
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Proposal and Budget Development
- Charging Administrative Expenses
- Accounting for Unallowable Costs
- Application of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost Rates
- Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost Waivers
- Personnel Costs
- Fringe Benefit Rates
- Institutional Base Salary
- Cost Sharing
Section 3: Managing Awards
- Opening or Modifying a Project
- Prior Approvals
- No-Cost Extension
- Cost Transfers
- Effort Reporting
- Salary Cap Administration
- Program Income
- Clinical Trials Financial Management
- Managing Sponsor Payments
Section 4: Travel and Procurement
- Domestic and Foreign Travel
- Memberships, Subscriptions, and Professional Activities
- Managing Subawards
- Small Business Program
- Managing Equipment Acquired with Federal Funding
- Recharge Center Policy
Section 5 Closing an Award
- Charging Employee Salaries
- Continuity of Pay and Stipends
- Sabbatical Leave
- Charging Severance to Sponsored Awards
- Procedures for Direct Charging Trainee Tuition
- Tuition Remission
- Charging Graduate Student Assistanceships
- Effort Reporting for Sponsored Programs
- Salary Cap Administration
- Fringe Benefit Rates
Salaries and fringe benefits generally comprise the largest portion of total direct charges to sponsors. Salaries are generally charged in proportion to the effort expended on the sponsored project. Some federal sponsors limit the amount of salary or rate that can be requested e.g., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) imposes a cap on the salary that can be charged to their awards.
It is the policy of New York University that all costs proposed or incurred on a sponsored project must comply with the Federal Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance (OMB Uniform Guidance) and sponsor requirements for charging compensation costs to sponsored programs. As required under the OMB Uniform Guidance, compensation costs must be charged to sponsored programs in a consistent manner.
Bonuses and compensated absences are allowable as direct costs to sponsored projects, provided they are paid in compliance with NYU policy, award terms and conditions and in proportion to the effort certified on the project.
In times of unexpected or extraordinary circumstances that result in a disruption in research operations and subject to agency specific guidance, employee salaries and benefits as well as fellowship stipends may be charged to currently active sponsored awards regardless of the funding source where employees and fellows are authorized to work from home, are onsite as essential personnel or conducting critical research, or a combination of both. Such charges must be consistent with NYU and sponsor guidance and should be continuously evaluated.
For employees and fellows whose work cannot be performed remotely, Principal, Investigators should consider whether they can be reassigned to duties that can be performed remotely or relieve others who are assigned as essential/critical. If work can be performed on a different sponsored project, salaries and stipends should continue to be charged as appropriate.
When no work can be performed, charging salaries and benefits or stipends may be allowed to sponsored awards as a paid excused absence under the circumstances based on NYU guidance and subject to agency specific guidance. The PI may be required to remove staff salaries charged to any award where no effort is committed to the project where the agency disallows such charges.
Subrecipients and subcontractors should adhere to their institutional guidance and policies on continuity of pay and stipend support in times of unexpected or extraordinary circumstances that result in a disruption in research operations, including when no work can be performed. Subrecipients and subcontractors should provide documentation to NYU, the pass-through entity, such that NYU can respond to sponsor requirements regarding documentation that describes the effects, and how long the subrecipient/subcontractor and related research was or will be impacted.
A sabbatical leave of absence is granted to a faculty member for the purposes of study, research, or other pursuit of value to the scholarly agenda of the faculty member and the University. Sabbatical leave is granted to eligible faculty member, starting September 1, for the usual teaching terms (i.e., September to June) of one academic year, at three quarters of annual base salary (or 75%). Thus, if a faculty member is granted three quarters of annual base salary, the maximum allowable sponsored funding for Sabbatical leave would be one quarter of the base salary (or 25%). There are several alternatives for the length of leaves. All sabbatical leave arrangements approved by the University carry the restriction that the faculty member is not permitted to engage in any form of regular academic or other employment to supplement the sabbatical salary. For further guidance on the policy e.g., approvals and documentation, see the NYU Faculty Handbook.
Severance payments that are due to normal recurring turnover and which otherwise meet the conditions of the award and University policy may be allowed provided the actual costs of such severance payments are regarded as expenses for the current fiscal year. These expenses must be equitably distributed in proportion to effort committed.
Direct charging of trainee tuition (as opposed to the NYU tuition remission rate) is allowable only when the purpose of the sponsored project is to provide training to selected participants (i.e., training/instruction grants) and the charge is approved by the sponsoring agency. Therefore, to be allowable for sponsored projects, direct charging of tuition and fees must be communicated to the sponsor during a proposal process and must be included in the award budgets.
Tuition remission in lieu of fringe benefits is provided to graduate students. Tuition remission is charged as a percentage of the individual salary regardless of whether the student will be taking classes or not during the project period. Tuition remission is included in the Other Costs category and is excluded from MTDC. At NYU, tuition remission rates vary by school.
Graduate Research Assistants (GRA’s) are graduate students whose time is divided between formal study and research. GRA’s receive salary (not stipend support). Their remuneration is generally calculated on the basis of 12 months of service, including one month's vacation. Tuition remission is charged as a percentage of their salary in lieu of fringe benefits. At NYU, tuition remission rates vary by school.
Federal regulations require certification of 100% effort for individuals working on Federally sponsored projects. NYU has chosen to certify on all sponsored projects. Some of this effort may be chargeable to sponsored projects and some may be charged to instruction, patient care, or some other function. All activities covered by the Institutional Base Salary (IBS) of an individual who is engaged in a sponsored project must be certified. Federal sponsors consider any effort described in the proposal narrative, budget or budget justification, but not charged to the sponsor, to be a binding commitment (voluntary cost sharing) that must be tracked, certified and reported.
At NYU, there are three effort reporting periods: Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Reports are generated using the Effort Reporting System (ERS). Effort reports must be completed and certified in a timely manner.
Principal Investigators (PI's) and faculty are required to certify their own effort report. The PI must also certify that the effort reported by non-faculty personnel charged to their sponsored agreement is accurate.
Since 1990 Congress has limited the amount of salary charged to an NIH grant or cooperative agreement. The salary cap is currently equal to Executive Level II of the federal scale.
At NYU, NIH grant proposals are submitted with the PI's Institutional Base Salary, adjusted for anticipated increases. When the grant is awarded, NIH adjusts the budget to reflect the salary cap in effect when the grant starts. When an individual's salary exceeds the salary cap, the amount over the cap must NOT be charged to another federal award, nor can it be used as cost sharing. See the Salary Cap Administration Policy for clarification.
For federal awards, fringe benefits are charged based on NYU’s negotiated rate with the Federal government. The rate is applied to salaries and wages charged to the sponsored project.
A Fellow can obtain health insurance through the NYU Medical and Dental Plans and the Fellow's health plan contribution will be processed as a payroll deduction with each pay cycle. Refer to the NYU Benefits Guide for Post-doctoral Fellows on how to obtain insurance through NYU.
Alternatively, a Fellow may purchase his or her individual or family health insurance outside of NYU. Postdoctoral fellows on NIH NRSA and other like awards may use a portion of their institutional allowance for reimbursement for health insurance. Refer to the instruction in the Postdoctoral Fellows Healthcare Insurance Reimbursement guide.
SPA 004: Personnel and Benefits
Open SPA 004: Personnel and Benefits in iLearn (NYUHome login required)
This learning module will cover the following policies as outlined in the SPA Handbook:
- Personnel Costs for Sponsored Programs
- Fringe Benefit Rates for Sponsored Programs
Duration: 7:00 minutes