Effort Reporting

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Why do I have to verify my effort?
  2. I requested a change to correct my payroll distribution on my sponsored project, but the redistribution doesn't appear. Why?
  3. I was a part-time employee who only worked for a few days on a single sponsored project. Why does my effort report list 100%? I wasn't working full-time on the project.
  4. The effort listed in one month is incorrect (or doesn't appear at all), but the overall average listed for that particular award is correct. Should I sign the report?
  5. Who can verify an effort report?
  6. How does the NIH Salary Cap appear on the effort report?
  7. If an individual holds multiple positions at the University, how are those shown and calculated on the effort report?
  8. How do we handle "Admin Supplements", "Overload Compensation", etc. in our effort calculations when they are not planned for during the proposal stage?
  9. How is effort calculated on the effort report?
  10. Who can I call with questions?

Q. Why do I have to verify my effort?
A. 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 (PDF) states that the university will maintain a system for verifying salaries and wages associated with federally sponsored agreements.

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Q. I requested a change to correct my payroll distribution on my sponsored project, but the redistribution doesn't appear. Why?
A.
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.

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Q. I was a part-time employee who only worked for a few days on a single sponsored project. Why does my effort report list 100%? I wasn't working full-time on the project.
A.
If an employee only works on a single sponsored project, then the effort listed should be 100%. The work – and corresponding payment – represents 100% of the effort on all sponsored projects compensated by GW.

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Q. The effort listed in one month is incorrect (or doesn't appear at all), but the overall average listed for that particular award is correct. Should I sign the report?
A.
 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 effort@gwu.edu. If changes are needed, please make the notations as detailed as possible, sign the report, and return it to effort@gwu.edu.

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Q. Who can verify an effort report?
A.
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.

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Q. How does the NIH Salary Cap appear on the effort report?
A.
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.

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Q. If an individual holds multiple positions at the University, how are those shown and calculated on the effort report?
A.
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 GWU'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.)

  Banner Total Effort % Amount PAYROLL Labor Distribution
      Award #1 - 30%          
     Salary 81XXX1 30.00% $45,000 45.00%    Faculty Position #1
           
      Award #2 - 25%          
     Salary 82XXX1 25.00% $37,500 37.50%    Faculty Position #1
           
   Health Admin -            Position #1 83XXXX 11.67% $17,500 17.50%    Faculty Position #1
     Admin Salary -           Position #2   33.33% $50,000 100.00%    Admin Salary Position
           
      Total Effort   100.00% $150,000 200.00%  


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Q. How do we handle ‘Admin Supplements’, ‘Overload Compensation’, etc. in our effort calculations when they were not planned for during the proposal stage?
A. Admin Supplements/Stipends, Overload Compensation, etc. 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.

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Q. How is effort calculated on the effort report?
A.
 Please take a look at the sample below. Assume a Principal Investigator (PI) is employed as a nine month faculty member, but performs some work on a research project during the summer break.  The PI only has one research award.  The hours worked by this PI are as follows:

Month Hours Worked Hours Worked on Research Activities Percent Research Activity
July 40 40 100
August 40 40 100
September 200 100 50
October 200 100 50
November 200 100 50
December 170 85 50

The University’s current process for calculating effort percentages for each six month period takes the simple average of each month’s percentage (i.e., sum of all percentages divided by the number of months). Using the information above, the PI’s effort certification would show:

July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Period Average
100% 100% 50% 50% 50% 50% 66.67%

However, 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. Since the two summer months were completely dedicated to research, but represented a reduced level of activity, it may skew the total percentage of the overall period. Using the same assumption of the number of hours worked as shown above, the true period average would be:

Total Hours Worked Total Hours Worked on Research Activity Percent Research Activity
850 465

850/465 = 1.827956
100/1.827956 = 54.71

 

This discrepancy, if not caught and corrected by the certifier, would result in an incorrect effort report and be beyond the commonly accepted variance level for a “reasonable estimate” of effort expended.

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Q. Who can I contact with questions?
A.
 You can call the Effort hotline at 571-553-4117 or e-mail effort@gwu.edu.  You can also contact Patrick Miller at (571) 553-3523 or pmiller05@gwu.edu, or Tania Wadhawan at (571) 553-8549 or wadhawan@gwu.edu.

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