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Effort Reporting Guidelines and Policy

The University of Kansas requires all individuals who receive sponsored funding to comply with University policies and sponsoring agency regulations regarding the proposing, charging, and reporting effort on sponsored awards.  University faculty, staff, and graduate students are expected to charge their time to sponsored awards commensurate with the effort expended on all activities they perform.  Faculty and staff are required to certify their own effort, and PIs must certify the effort of their graduate students. ecrt will have two certification periods annually for all employees. Certifiers will have 60 calendar days to certify all assigned effort reports.  All employees involved in certifying effort must understand that penalties and funding disallowances could result from inaccurate, incomplete, or non-timely effort reporting.

Completion of Effort Certifications
Faculty and staff are required to review their own effort report, determine whether the percentages on the effort report reasonably reflect effort expended on sponsored and non-sponsored activities, and certify the effort totals on the effort report. PIs are required to do this same review, verification, and certification of the effort reports for graduate students appointed to their projects. Variances of up to 5% (and $100) for each line of funding listed are allowable and do not require an adjustment or recertification.  Variances over 5% (and $100) for each line must be corrected prior to final system processing of the effort report.  Faculty and staff must complete their effort report, and those of graduate students appointed to their projects, within 60 calendar days of the date they receive the e-mail that the certification period is open. The 30 calendar day issue resolution period, after the 60 day certification period, can be utilized by faculty and staff to address issues that arose during the certification period and to finalize certification of their effort reports; certifications that are completed during this issue resolution period will still be considered compliant.

Effort must be certified in a timely manner. Failure to certify during the certification period can result in the University suspending support for extramural activities on behalf of individuals who do not fulfill their responsibilities, including PIs who do not ensure the faculty and staff on their projects have certified. Specifically, the University will not:

  • Submit a grant proposal/application to sponsors for extramural projects if individuals who are in violation of the certification period deadline are listed as personnel in the application
  • Execute award agreements and establish accounts for projects that have individuals who are in violation of the certification period deadline are listed as personnel in the application

Responsibilities 
Effort reporting is a federal compliance requirement.  There are many individuals involved in this process and each one has a role in ensuring that certifications are accurate and completed on time.

Certifiers (Principal Investigators (PIs), Faculty, and Staff)

  • Understand federal requirements related to effort
  • Ensure the appropriateness and accuracy of all effort expended on sponsored projects
  • Review, initiate corrections when necessary, and electronically certify effort report(s) during 60 calendar day certification period
  • Communicate significant effort changes (over 5% and more than $100 per line threshold) to their effort coordinator(s)
  • Recertify effort report(s) in the 30 days recertification period, if effort changes over the threshold are made after a report has been certified
  • On federal projects, obtain prior approval if disengaged from the project for more than three consecutive months or if effort is reduced more than 25% from the budget awarded

Additional PI Responsibilities

  • Certify effort statements of graduate students to accurately reflect their effort during effort period
  • Ensure faculty and staff appointed to their sponsored projects certify within the (re)certification period(s)

Effort Coordinators

  • Understand federal requirements related to effort
  • Monitor effort commitments, salary charges, and cost sharing on all applicable awards
  • Follow up with faculty, staff, and payroll coordinators to make adjustments to effort reports as necessary
  • Communicate to the central sponsored programs office any changes that require sponsor notification and/or approval
  • Review salary charges with faculty and staff, and post any salary distribution updates and/or corrections in a timely manner
  • Check effort certifications for accuracy during the review period
  • Monitor that effort certifications are completed within 60 calendar days after release to the certifier, and that recertifications are completed with 30 calendar days after release to the certifier

Office of Research

  • Develop and implement effort reporting policies and procedures.
  • Develop educational programs for all employees involved in the effort certification process.
  • Ensure that the effort system produces accurate effort statements in a timely manner.
  • Monitor system to ensure compliance.
  • Monitor the effort process for timely submission and report findings to departments.

Consequences 
Failure to certify during the certification period can result in the University suspending support for extramural activities on behalf of individuals who do not fulfill their responsibilities, including PIs who do not ensure the faculty and staff on their projects have certified. Specifically, the University will not:

  • Submit a grant proposal/application to sponsors for extramural projects if individuals who are in violation of the certification period deadline are listed as personnel in the application
  • Execute award agreements and establish accounts for projects that have individuals who are in violation of the certification period deadline are listed as personnel in the application

Resources
2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance)
FAQs
Definitions

Effort Reporting and Certification Procedure and Examples:

Who Must Certify?
Each employee who is paid from or has effort contributed to a sponsored project must electronically certify their effort during the effort certification period at https://ecrt.ku.edu. PIs must certify the effort of their graduate students.

When Does Certification Take Place?
The effort certification period will be take place twice a year. After the six-month effort reporting period ends (June-December and December-June each year), effort coordinators will have a two week pre-review period, then certifiers will receive notification of the effort certification period opening. The effort certification period is 60 calendar days.

What is a “Fair Estimate”?
The electronic effort report will display a separate line for each salary source from which the individual was paid. This will be shown as a percentage of the individual’s appointment and will always sum to 100% regardless of the individual’s appointment. The percent charged to each salary source is considered the “Calculated Effort.” The “Calculated Effort” is the mathematical percentage of salary that was charged from the Account listed for the Reporting Period listed at the top of the form. The period will always be six months for faculty, staff, and graduate students. This percentage is determined to be a “Fair Estimate” if the actual effort expended is within plus/minus 5% of the Calculated Effort. Any case in which the actual effort deviates (either above or below) the calculated effort by more than 5% for each line (and this deviation is more than $100) should be reported to your departmental payroll contact and may require a retroactive fund adjustment. If the effort report reflects an accurate picture of the effort expended during the reporting period, please certify in ecrt.    If changes are necessary, please make these changes, include a note, and certify in ecrt.

Who May Sign?
The following chart will help you determine who may sign the form:

Employee Category Required Authority Approval  Frequency
Faculty and Faculty Equivalents (any PI) Employee 2 times per year
Faculty and Other Professional Staff, including Post docs (not acting as PI) Employee 2 times per year
University Support Staff (not acting as PI) Employee 2 times per year
Graduate student Award PI 2 times per year

Remember: Changes noted on the effort report does not result in changes to employee payroll appointments! The SSC/Research Center Effort Coordinator must still complete a payroll change request and/or RFA to address variances over the 5% ($100) threshold.

 
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