As a condition of federal funding, institutions must maintain an accurate system for reporting the percentage of time, i.e., effort, that employees devote to federally-sponsored projects (see OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions – Section J.10. Compensation for Personal Services). A January 2001 clarification issued by the Office of Management and Budget noted that most federally-funded research programs should have some degree of effort allocated for all key personnel, whether noted in the proposal or not. It advised that in instances where no key personnel effort is indicated in the proposal, it is still incumbent upon the institution to estimate and track the effort. In response to this clarification, if the PI is not paid from the grant, the proposal must show a minimum 1% of each academic year effort allocation that will be tracked internally.
In addition, the university's effort reporting system assures external sponsors that funds are properly expended for the salaries and wages of those individuals working on the projects they sponsor. It provides the principal means for certifying that the salaries and wages charged to sponsored projects are consistent with the effort contributed. All employees involved in certifying effort must understand that severe penalties and funding disallowances could result from inaccurate, incomplete, or untimely effort reporting.
Effort reporting at The University of Oklahoma Norman campus is accomplished monthly. A confirmation of Reimbursable and Contributed Direct Labor form for each Sponsored Agreement is sent to the PI/project director. The form documents direct and contributed effort for salaries and wages charged and/or cost shared to the sponsored research project for the reporting month. A person who has a suitable means of verification that the work was performed (PI or a supervisor) must sign the form and return it to the Financial Coordinator in a timely manner. The signature confirms that the effort is accurate. Total effort for an individual may not exceed 100%. Any changes to the effort must be noted on the form, followed by the appropriate paperwork, i.e., payroll expense transfer form or termination paperwork. Salaries and wages distributed from a clearing account are not listed on the report as they have been previously confirmed.
Failure to return a confirmation report could result in a suspension of the account, and SRI will not be returned to research units with delinquent reports.