Time and Effort Reporting Q & A
Q1: What is Time and Effort Reporting?
It is the process by which an individual (faculty or staff) who is paid any portion of their salary/wages from a federal or state sponsored project is asked to confirm that the percentage of their payroll charged to the project reasonably reflects the actual effort they expended on the project during the reporting period. It is completed after the end of each reporting period.
Q2: Is it required?
Yes. It is required under federal guidelines and university policy. CMU is audited annually on this process by the university's external financial auditing firm as well as by some project sponsors.
Q3: How often does CMU require Time and Effort Reporting?
Due to the nature of faculty assignments, Time and Effort reporting is completed three times per year after the end of each semester: Fall, Spring and Summer (both sessions together).
Q4: What is changing with the Fall 2014 reporting cycle?
Over the past year the Grant Accounting Office and Payroll Office have worked with the IT staff to develop a custom program within SAP that manages and tracks the Time and Effort reporting process. However, a few things have changed:
- The form layout. We believe the new form more clearly outlines the effort percentage per project. It has been reviewed by both ORSP and some academic unit staff.
- Only one signature is required. The individual certifying their effort must sign the form. The Principal Investigator (or Chair) will be copied on the effort certification email, but their signature is no longer required.
Q5: Do I have to report my cost share or matching on the grant?
Yes. All cost share or match that is required in the written agreement or contract (including budgets) to be completed by the university must be confirmed. The time and effort form validates the effort expended and verifies that CMU has fulfilled its obligation.
Q6: Is anyone exempt from time and effort reporting?
Yes. Currently students and hourly paid employees are exempt. Starting 7/1/15 the federal regulations are changing and CMU will require most hourly staff to complete this reporting also. Student employees and temporary hourly employees that are required to report their time daily directly on the project will still be exempt from this reporting.
Q7: How will chair pay be treated for time and effort reporting?
In general, the ½ time summer assignment accepted for chair duties will be included in time and effort reporting. The chair pay stipend will be excluded from time and effort reporting.
Q8: Why does my total effort need to be 100% and why do I have to report non-sponsored activity?
Your effort must equal 100% to account for all the salary or wages paid to you by CMU for sponsored and non-sponsored activities within the reporting period.
Example: You taught 2 (3 credit) classes, committed 25% to work on Grant Z and had 1 course release to work on Grant Q. Your payroll percentage would be: 25% to class 1, 25% to class 2, 25% to grant Z and 25% cost share to grant Q.
Your effort is not based on the amount of hours worked per day or week. It is to reasonably reflect your expended effort in relation to the compensation you received by the university. You must write your actual percentage of effort on the line next to each sponsored activity.
Q9: What is a recertification form?
When a retroactive payroll transaction occurs reallocating the percentage of pay applied to a project that has already been certified, a new recertification form with the updated information must be reviewed and approved.
Q10: Who is required to sign the form?
The individual who is reporting their own effort should sign the form. If the individual is unable to sign the document the Project Director should contact Grant Accounting for further instructions.
Q11: Where & how to return the form?
All forms should be forwarded to Grant Accounting WA 304. You may do any of the following:
- Scan the completed form and attach it to an email and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send the completed form to WA 304 by campus mail
- Fax to 774-1209
Q12: What do I put in the text box?
The text box is available for your comments regarding items you feel require clarification or are inaccurate on the form. If your actual effort is not reasonably reflected on the form please write a comment and return the form. This will allow us to further investigate the situation and know that you received your form.
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com or you may call your Grant Accountant for specific instructions pertaining to your project.
Sample Time and Effort Form: