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The University receives federal funding on sponsored project agreements and is required to comply with federal guidelines and university policy which states that the University needs to have a system in place for certifying salaries and wages associated with federally sponsored agreements. Stipulations state that the certification reports should reasonably reflect effort allocated to the activities for which the employee is compensated and that they are to be signed by the employee, principal investigator or responsible official(s) using suitable means of verification that the work was performed.
At the University of North Dakota, we certify to our effort on grant projects with the use of an after-the-fact form called a Personnel Activity Confirmation (PAC) form. These effort certification forms detail effort shown on grant projects, and are generated by semester for all UND departments by the UND Grants & Contracts Administration office.
It is required that employees who receive an effort certification form review the form to confirm that all proposed activities are reported correctly and that the distribution of effort shown on the certification report reflects a reasonable estimate of the percentage of total effort that was spent on each activity. Signing the report confirms that effort, as certified, reasonably represents the effort expended during that time period.
If the information shown on the effort certification report is incorrect, the employee is to make the appropriate changes to the form before signing. These changes are to be initialed and dated. Note: Any changed needed to column A (Salary Paid) must be changed with a Salary Correction (Retro) process.
For the SMHS, forms are distributed through Grants Management to administrative staff in the departments. The departments collect signatures and return the forms to Grants Management who then returns the forms to UND Grants & Contract Administration.
If you spent 10 percent effort on a grant project for three of the six pay periods shown your effort certification report, the effort shown on that report should be 10 percent.
Wrong! Keep in mind that these reports show an average effort percentage over the time period of the report. For example, if your effort report is for the time period of May 16th through August 15th (six pay periods), and you are showing 10% effort for the first three pay periods of this report and 0% effort for the last three pay periods of this report, your report will show 5% effort (as it is taking the average of the six pay periods). A listing of your salary and effort per pay period can be found in the HRMS module. For assistance locating this information, please contact your department administrator, or contact Grants Management at 777-2808.
If you are working on a grant or contract, and do not receive an effort certification report, that means you do not have to certify to your effort.
Wrong! If you are working on an externally sponsored project and effort was listed in the proposal, you always have to certify to your proposed effort. If you did not receive an effort certification report when they were sent out, contact Grants Management at 777-2808, as there may have been an error with your report.
It is OK for the department administrator or secretary to sign your effort certification report in place of you.
Wrong! It is only allowable for the employee, principal investigator, or responsible official (using suitable means of verification) to sign the effort certification report. It is also not allowable for Graduate Students, Post Docs and students to sign their forms.
It does not matter if your effort on a grant project is less than was originally proposed.
Wrong! You may need to notify your sponsor if your reduction in effort is more than 25% of the originally proposed effort. Please contact Grants Management for further advice.
If you are putting in more effort than what was proposed the effort should be increased on the form.
Wrong! Effort needs to be certified up to the amount proposed. Additional effort is considered cost share which is not encouraged. The federal government only requires the certification of the proposed effort. There is only an issue if the effort is less than what was proposed.
After the effort certification report has been signed and returned, a salary correction can be done on those pay periods.
Wrong! Once you have signed and dated your Personnel Activity Confirmation Report, it is not recommended to request a salary correction for that pay period.
Please see the Grants Manager who can explain further what effort is, how we certify to our effort, why we certify to our effort, how we read our effort certification forms, and how we can correct our effort certification forms.