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Personnel Appointments

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Persons working on sponsored projects administered through the Office of Sponsored Programs are employed in accordance with Ohio State faculty appointments and staff employment policies. Any sponsor specific requirements is noted in the Award Overview tab in the PI Portal.

All employment appointments on sponsored projects are made in Workday using department specific procedures. To meet sponsor reporting requirements, grant-funded appointments should be initiated or updated promptly. Common times when grant appointments need to be reviewed include:

  • when a new award is established
  • at the beginning and end of semesters (especially for graduate student appointments)
  • when a new person begins work on the grant
  • when an appointment is changed e.g., employee leaves, moves to a new funding source

Grant and Award End Actions

Shortly before a grant ends, all appointed personnel should have a new appointment, either to a different grant or to a university source, entered into Workday. Failure to do so will result in charges continuing to accumulate on the ended grant. Any unresolved overrun on a sponsored award will be transferred to the cost centers listed in the expenditure allocation section of the PA-005 after the award has been closed.

If a staff member’s employment will be terminated at the conclusion of a sponsored project, it is important that university’s reduction in force policies be followed especially with regard to adequate advance written notification. Questions concerning personnel termination actions should be directed to human resources.

Payroll Accounting Adjustment

A Payroll Accounting Adjustment (PAA) is the mechanism by which already incurred salary and benefit charges are moved from one funding source to another. It is important that PAAs using grant funds be completed as soon as the need is identified so the university can stay in compliance with sponsor billing and reporting requirements. 


At proposal, the principal investigator (PI) determines the effort needed on the project, which upon award becomes the Committed Effort. Committed Effort must reflect the best estimate of the actual effort required to meet project goals. There is no federal guideline or directive regarding a typical percent of effort. This percent will vary greatly and should be based on each PI's individual situation.

  • Committed Effort equals sponsor compensated effort plus cost shared effort
    Documented cost sharing should be limited only to situations where it is mandated by a sponsor, or it is necessary to fulfill the effort commitment to the project by the principal investigator or project director.
  • Committed research effort plus teaching load + other obligations = 100%
    Personnel effort on all active awards plus teaching load and other commitments cannot exceed 100%.  A key concept is that hours are not certified, effort is. 100% effort encompasses the total amount of time spent by a faculty or staff member to perform all of the activities required by his or her job with the university. Effort is not based on a 40-hour week.

Uniform Guidance Section §200.430 states, “It is recognized that teaching, research, service, and administration are often inextricably intermingled in an academic setting. When recording salaries and wages charged to Federal awards for Institutions of Higher Education, a precise assessment of factors that contribute to costs is therefore not always feasible, nor is it expected.” Effort certifications average effort over the months of the period being certified (Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Summer Semester).

Committed effort must be reflected in Workday either by charging effort to the grant or cost sharing it against the grant. These system appointments drive effort certification.

Effort Certification

Effort Certification is done to confirm that salary charges to the sponsor are reasonable in relation to the work performed, and the effort provided to each sponsor is at least as great as the effort promised to the sponsor. Effort certification needs to be documented for anyone who receives some portion of their compensation from, or who contributes effort to, a sponsored project.

Certification Process

  1. In a proposal, a specific level of effort is offered, an award is made with the expectation that the offered level of effort will be delivered, and a grant is set up in the university accounting system.
  2. The PI initiates personnel appointments on the project, and payroll costs are distributed based on these appointments (both sponsor-expensed and cost-shared).
  3. Effort reports are generated in Workday from payroll information, and investigators are asked to certify that the effort reports reasonably represent how effort was actually expended. The PI on the grant certifies his or her own effort and the effort of any students charged to the grant.  Professional staff and postgrads certify their own effort.

Faculty Professional Leave

University policy allows faculty on professional leave for longer than one semester to augment their leave stipend with funds from external sources such as research grants, provided that: 

  • the grant terms allow additional compensation,  
  • the activity to be compensated supports the purposes of the FPL, and
  • the combined external support and reduced leave stipend do not exceed the level of the regular annual salary.

 Effort charged to an award while on leave must be certified and must reflect actual effort on the grant. The effort charged must also be reported accurately on RPPRs or annual progress reports.


Failure to comply with effort certification requirements can result in serious financial penalties for the university. Additionally, criminal charges may be brought against an individual certifying a falsified effort report. Therefore, exercise due diligence when reviewing and certifying effort reports. If a report is incorrect, work with your department HR representative to initiate corrections and a new report will be generated.

Review the Acknowledgement of Responsibilities Associated with Effort Certification that must be made on each effort certification.