EHHD Time & Effort Policy
College of EHHD Time and Effort (T&E) Policies and Procedures
Paid and unpaid faculty, staff, and student time and effort (T&E) from external funding sources constitute important resources to enhance scholarly activities. The following EHHD T&E Policies and Procedures are designed to facilitate this process for scholars and provide a structure for following and documenting adherence to funding rules and regulations. Policies and procedures for faculty (Section A), staff (Section B), and students (Section C) differ and are described individually in Sections A, B, and C of this document, respectively.
SECTION A: FACULTY T&E
MSU is required to comply with federal standards. While not all grants and contracts are federal, policies and procedures for EHHD faculty T&E are designed for federal funding compliance. To achieve this compliance, faculty with T&E commitments to external funders need to know the following key points:
- Montana State University is responsible for commitments made to funders for T&E, regardless of whether the T&E is funded (salary paid) or unfunded (salary not paid by funder). Information regarding Montana State University policies may be found at this link: https://www.montana.edu/research/osp/time_and_effort_policy.html.
- Funded salary for faculty must be at or below the corresponding T&E committed to the funder, which may be expressed in months or % effort. That is, faculty can put more T&E into a project than committed or paid, but not less.
- To receive salary for T&E from a new funding source, faculty must: 1) complete an EHHD T&E worksheet (Elizabeth Bird will assist) and 2) schedule a grant start up meeting (schedule with Elizabeth Bird, [email protected]). An ePAF to begin payment will be set up after the start up meeting and worksheet are completed and must correspond to the time when T&E is actually undertaken. ePAFs will be updated for Fall, Spring, and Summer for T&E within those periods.
- Fall and Spring salary will go through the Incentive Program for Researchers (IPR). Summer salary is paid directly as salary to faculty based on timing designated in the summer ePAF. Summer salary cannot be taken for T&E expended during Fall or Spring.
- Documentation that verifies committed T&E must be kept by faculty. This is crucial for avoiding penalties and potentially being forced to return salary if an audit is undertaken.
- Employees paid from OSP funding sources are required to complete and submit Time & Effort reporting. This is retrospectively undertaken via emails from Fiscal Shared Services asking faculty to acknowledge that the T&E connected to salary was performed. Corresponding records should be kept by faculty to verify T&E in future audits that may occur several years after the work is completed.
- Federal regulations section 200.430(c) states “It is recognized that teaching, research, service and administration are often inextricably intermingled in an academic setting. When recording salaries and wages charged to Federal awards for IHEs [Institutions of Higher Education] a precise assessment of factors that contribute to costs is therefore not always feasible, nor is it expected.” Efforts on projects go up and down over time and do not always align with pay periods when funding is received. If the overall effort over time is in reasonable alignment, then approval of a % Time & Effort is acceptable even though specific pay periods may not match. Precise matching is not required or expected.
- Up to 25% of 9- or 12-month base salary may be added to base salary through the Incentive Program for Researchers (IPR) from eligible grants if allowed by funder. Total effort cannot exceed 100%. There are rare cases in which up to 20% additional compensation is allowed with prior approval. Check funding source budget requirements to verify eligibility for IPR. Budgets including IPR must be approved by OSP and identified in ePCF by responding “yes” to “will the grant be utilized for participation in the Faculty Research Incentive Program?”. Funding sources that do not allow IPR include, but are not limited to: INBRE, CAIRHE, and AI/AN CTRP. Eligibility and policies regarding IPR may be found at this link: https://www.montana.edu/research/osp/ipr_description.html.
- While up to 3/9 of academic year salary may be funded for summer salary, faculty should be aware that this is 100% of summer salary from an external source, which means that 1) no other work may be done (100% of faculty activities must be focused on the funded work, regardless of how much time is spent on the funded work), and 2) faculty may not take a vacation or time off for other purposes without reducing compensation.
- Course buyouts. Course buyouts must occur in the same academic year as the T&E that corresponds to the buyout is completed. However, the T&E that is used for a course buyout does not need to be concurrent with the buyout. For example, faculty may spend 5% of their time for both fall and spring semesters working on a grant even though the course buyout only occurs in one of the two semesters.
- When a new grant is received, outline a schedule for externally funded work that includes an estimate of T&E over the course of the upcoming T&E period (fall semester, spring semester, summer). The goal of this outline is to guide % T&E over the upcoming pay periods. It may be evenly spread or focused on specific pay periods. Focus within pay periods is particularly appropriate if research travel will take place. Consult the MSU Pay Calendar.
- Set up an EHHD Salary Planning Workbook. Faculty receiving compensation from external funding sources must have an up-to-date EHHD T&E worksheet on file with the Office of Scholarship Development and Academic Impact (OSDAI). Elizabeth Bird will facilitate worksheet set up. Make an appointment with her ([email protected]) to populate and or review the worksheet.
- Elizabeth Bird will schedule a grant start up meeting.
- Following the grant start up meeting, send T&E information to [email protected] to set up ePAF. The following information needs to be provided to set up ePAF for fall and spring semesters: 1) your name and last 4 digits of your GID, 2) grant index #, 3) information in the T&E worksheet regarding salary to be paid per pay period over the course of the term (fall semester, spring semester, fall and spring semester combined, or summer session). Elizabeth Bird can also forward IPR and/or course release information that may be used for setting up the ePAF following your working session with her. A specific form sent to faculty during spring semester is used to set up summer session appointments. Contact [email protected] if you would like to request the summer session form.
- Document T&E. Records of time spent doing the work that you legally committed to is essential. Faculty will need to have these records available if there is an audit that includes your funding. Audits can occur up to five years after you do the work and records of your time need to be accessible for that period. There is no required way to track time, but some tracking is required. While federal law recognizes that precise accounting is not always feasible, a reasonable level of documentation is still needed. Include relevant activities in your documentation, e.g. laboratory maintenance relevant to the project, mentoring of students working on the project, research related training, e.g. CITI training. The detail does not need to be extensive, but some records need to be kept. Possible ways to document your time that would be acceptable:
- Record time for project on your Outlook calendar
- Keep an excel spreadsheet log for your externally funded project T&E
- Make a notation of time spent for different projects on a paper calendar (be sure to keep the calendars)
- Keep a notebook to track activities specifically related to each funded project
- Corrections to ePAFs. If faculty are not able to complete the T&E committed for a project, then a change to the ePAF needs to be made. For example, if work on a project is delayed and T&E cannot occur, then salary should also be delayed. If you need to make an ePAF correction, contact Skyeler Huntsman ([email protected]).
- Salary that is being used for required matching funds should be shown on the EHHD Salary Planning Workbook (and sent to the FSS manager (Kristen McCrae, [email protected]).
- Respond to T&E reporting emails from Fiscal Shared Services (FSS). Setting up T&E in an ePAF or by forwarding match tracking plans to the FSS manager both trigger retrospective reporting emails from FSS. Faculty will receive emails from the EHHD FSS team indicating % efforts attributed to MSU and external funding sources. The percentages given are for the proportions of salary in the designated pay periods that came from the identified sources, e.g. 90% MSU and 10% 4WXXXX (grant index).