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Revised: 9-5-2014 Supersedes: 7-1-2013
Summary: Effort certification is a process in which employees of sponsored projects certify
that their time was spent in conformance with commitments made to a project; this
is required by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21. As a recipient
of federal funds, the Circular requires that UACES has a system in place for certifying
salaries and wages associated with federally sponsored agreements. In most cases,
the certification corresponds to the salary charged to the project. In other cases,
it reflects the Institutional-funded commitment to the project generally referred
to as matching.
UACES will maintain an effort reporting system and obtain effort certification from
employees in compliance with federal regulation.
Salary Basis for Certification
For faculty and staff, the institutional base salary for effort certification purposes
is their annual base salary. This excludes all bonuses, faculty incentives and extra
Responsibility for Certification
All employees receiving any portion of their pay from federal funding are required
to participate in the effort certification process. Full-time employees should certify
their own effort whenever possible. If a situation arises which prevents a full-time
employee from certifying, such as long-term absence or termination of employment,
the principal investigator may certify on the employee’s behalf. Department heads
and supervisors may also be alternate certifiers for part-time, temporary and terminated
It is important to note that certification on behalf of another individual should
only occur if the alternate certifier has suitable means to verify that the effort
is reflected correctly on the effort certification; in other words, the alternate
certifier should have first-hand knowledge of the work performed. It is assumed that
the principal investigator will have this knowledge due to the responsibility for
project oversight. In no circumstances should an individual certify for another without
knowledge of actual effort provided to the project.
Effort Certification Process
Effort certification reports for full and part-time employees will be prepared semi-annually
(Fall and Spring) and distributed by OSP via email. The Fall reports will include
the (July – December) reporting period and Spring will cover (January – June). The
Office of Sponsored Programs will retrieve payroll records from the banner human resources
module and create effort reports utilizing banner access. Fall reports will be distributed
no later than February 28th and must be certified and returned within three weeks.
Spring reports will be distributed no later than August 15th and must be certified
and returned within three weeks.
When certification reports are made available, a file listing each employee receiving
an effort report for that reporting period and their percentage of effort by fund
will be emailed to the responsible Executive Team member. Two weeks after the certification
reports are available, notifications will be emailed to those employee’s with outstanding
reports and their department head will be copied. Executive Team members and department
heads will be notified of any Effort Certification Reports not returned by the due
date. Notifications will continue to go out twice monthly until all reports are certified
Payroll Adjustments and Labor Redistributions after the Effort Report is made available
In the instance the effort report does not accurately reflect the work performed during
the reporting period covered, a variance of 5% or less is acceptable. If the variance
is larger, the certifier should update the percentages on the report to reflect the
correct allocations based on actual work performed. In cases where the effort report
is updated by the certifier, in addition to returning the signed report to Sponsored
programs, the updated report should be scanned and emailed to the employee’s department
head requesting the salary reallocation. Sponsored Programs should be copied on the
email. In most cases a new eHire will need to be submitted by the department head.
If a payroll adjustment is warranted, OSP will initiate the adjustment form and send
to the department head for approval. Effort reports that have been manually updated
by the certifier will not be re-issued after redistribution or adjustment is completed.
The manually updated form is maintained in Sponsored Programs with copies of the revised
eHire or payroll adjustment form attached.
Once the effort certification report has been certified and returned to Sponsored
Programs, redistributions and payroll adjustments are not allowed unless the certifier
noted changes on the report. The reporting period is considered closed, once the
effort reporting due date has lapsed.
Failure to Certify Timely
Failure to comply with the effort certification policy could jeopardize federal funding
received by the university. It is imperative that every effort is made to return
completed effort certifications by the due date. Failure to comply with this policy
by responsible parties may lead to administrative or disciplinary action up to and