Effort Reporting

Frequently Asked Questions

Please use this hotlink to go to the GCAS Resources web page and the documents are located under "Labor & Effort". 

Under 2-CFR-200 section §200.430 Compensation-personal services it states: Compensation for personal services includes all remuneration, paid currently or accrued, for services of employees rendered during the period of performance under the Federal award, including but not necessarily limited to wages and salaries as well as (i) Be supported by a system of internal control which provides reasonable assurance that the charges are accurate, allowable, and properly allocated. The GW Effort Reporting Policy states that the university will maintain a system for verifying salaries and wages associated with federally sponsored agreements.

Compensation is based on an individual’s total Institutional Base Salary (IBS). IBS is the annual compensation paid by the University for an Employee’s Appointment, whether that individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, teaching administration, clinical activity or any other activities.

IBS is established by each School via their annual appointment which includes regular salary associated with their academic appointment(s). IBS also includes secondary administrative appointments such as department chair, associate deans, etc. IBS does not include items such as:

  • Honorarium payments, incentives/bonuses or other one-time payments
  • Income that an individual is permitted to receive directly from third parties outside of their University responsibilities such as consulting fees.   

 Total Effort is always 100% whether a person is employed on a full-time basis by the University or on a part-time basis.  The work represents 100% of Institutional Base Salary by GW.

Effort is defined as the proportion of time spent on any activity expressed as a percentage of the total institutional activities for which an individual is compensated by the University, regardless of part-time or full-time status and/or number of hours worked. Total Effort is always 100% whether a person is employed on a full-time basis by the University or on a part-time basis. Faculty members with multiple appointments consider their combined responsibilities to arrive at their Total Effort. 

There are a number of reasons why this could have occurred:

  1. Effort reports are generated with data extracted from the Banner Payroll system. Only those additions, changes, and redistributions that were fully executed and uploaded at the time of the report generation will be reflected.
  2. The electronic CIS was not fully executed. The process may have been initiated, but if not approved in a timely manner GW Payroll could not execute the changes and effort calculates on approved transactions only.
  3. The effective date of the new distribution was incorrectly listed.
  4. The allocation could have been impacted by the organization number. Verify that the correct organization number was used.

During this process you are confirming that the effort charged during the reporting period reasonably agrees with how an individual actually devoted their time during that period. Percentages listed represent effort charged during the reporting period. Exact percentages are not required monthly but one month should not represent the effort reporting period.  Reports are required to reasonably reflect the activities for which employees are compensated.

If the percentages listed reasonably reflect the effort employees have devoted, sign the report and return to [email protected]. If changes are needed, please make the notations as detailed as possible, sign the report, and return it to [email protected].

The Effort report must be signed by “the employee, principal investigator, or responsible official(s) using suitable means of verification that the work was performed.” Please note that only one signature is required on the report by any of the above listed individuals. Email is also an acceptable indication of approval. Please include the respective effort report in the email.

The legislatively mandated provision on National Institutes for Health imposing a cap (“NIH Salary Cap”) on the reimbursement of salaries creates a unique circumstance in completing effort reports for highly compensated faculty and staff. Since this agency may not reimburse the University for salaries under sponsored projects at an annual rate that exceeds the Salary Cap, OVPR creates separate cost sharing awards to capture that portion of salary in excess of the Salary Cap. For effort certification purposes, the individual should consider the two awards together: the federal award and its companion cost sharing award.

The definition of Effort includes Total Institutional Base Salary (IBS) which includes all positions, excluding bonuses.  The effort report will include all positions in order to calculate the effort percentage.   Please see detailed example listed below:

In GW's payroll system, an individual’s payroll record shows two positions, position #1 a Faculty position and position #2 an Administrative position.  Each position is determined to have 100% labor distribution and therefore a total of 200% for payroll purposes.  Effort is calculated differently than payroll since it combines both positions.  Effort, unlike payroll, will only total 100%.  The system will break down the positions to determine the overall percentage based on total IBS.  In the example below the total IBS salary is $150,000.00, position #1 is at $100,000.00 or 66.67% of the total IBS and position #2 is at $50,000.00 or 33.33% of the total IBS equaling 100%.  So when a faculty member states they are working 30% effort on a sponsored project and the faculty member has multiple positions, please remember to calculate the payroll distribution percentages in a spreadsheet prior to entering into Banner.  (Note: if you have a faculty member over the Salary Cap, the calculation can be made more difficult.)

Effort distribution example table

Admin Supplements are included in Institutional Base Salary and the example above should be used to calculate the faculty member’s effort percentage.  If the additional costs cannot be managed within the budgets of the awards, a conversation should be held with your Sponsored Project Administrator and a revised budget may need to be submitted to the sponsor.

Uniform Guidance requires the grantee to confirm that the payroll costs charged to the project are reasonable in relation to the actual work performed during the period.  Please take a look at the sample below. Assume a Principal Investigator (PI) performs work on non-sponsored activity and research awards throughout the year.  The effort report is based on the salary for each pay cycle.

Effort distribution example table - salary

The University’s current process for calculating effort percentages for each pay cycle takes the weighted average of each month’s salary (i.e., the salary for each activity divided by the total salary). Using the information above, the PI’s effort certification would show:

Effort distribution example table - %

Contacts for effort reporting questions:

Effort hotline at 571-553-4117 or e-mail [email protected]  
Patrick Miller at 571-553-3523 or 
[email protected]
Tania Wadhawan at 571-553-8549 or [email protected]