Effort Certification Reporting
Faculty, staff, and graduate students will complete effort certification reports if they perform work on any sponsored project, funded directly by Sponsored/Restricted Funds and employees who are paid from E&G Cost Shares, University Faculty Research in their primary job or with Summer Compensation. The effort of all classified employees, including students, temporary employees, and graduate assistants paid on a bi-weekly basis, assigned/appointed to sponsored programs or assigned/appointed to positions for the purpose of fulfilling the University's obligation to sponsored program (cost-sharing), will be certified in conjunction with time reporting.
The effort of all classified employees, including students, temporary employees, and graduate assistants paid on a bi-weekly basis, assigned/appointed to sponsored programs or assigned/appointed to positions for the purpose of fulfilling the University's obligation to sponsored program (cost-sharing), will be certified in conjunction with time reporting.
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.
Individuals are required to certify 100% of their compensated effort of their base salary.
Effort does not include summer pay.
Faculty members must account not only for their sponsored program and training effort (whether sponsor paid or cost shared), but also their instruction/administrative effort (including nonsponsored personal research, scholarship, and artistic endeavors as well as classroom teaching) and their service to the University on committees, etc.
Typically, graduate assistants have only 50% appointments. However, that 50% appointment constitutes their entire “job” with the University and therefore represents 100% of their compensated effort. Hence, their effort reports will show 100%.
As a condition of receiving federal funding, institutions must maintain an accurate system for reporting the percentage of effort that employees devote to federally sponsored research projects. The University of Memphis will further require faculty to certify efforts related to unrestricted/University research as part of our ongoing effort to shift to accounting practices that accurately reflect our research expenditures.
The following areas are receiving significant attention nationally:
- 100% research faculty - are they involved in activities that should be funded by sources other than their grants?
- Faculty with 5 or more federal awards - are they overcommitted? Are the percentages of salary distributed to each of their projects reasonable?
- Change in Level of Effort - are faculty seeking permission to change the level of effort proposed in their grant when required (typically when the change is 25% or more)?
- Faculty with less than 5% of their effort on many awards - are they contributing the effort promised?
- Faculty Effort Certification - is it timely?
- Retroactive Salary Cost Transfers - are they infrequent, but timely when necessary? Of particular concern are those affecting time periods for which faculty have already certified their effort.
- Total effort commitments (paid and cost shared) to the sponsor - are they met?
- University effort reporting policy - is it being followed?
An alternate certifier is a person other than the employee that is allowed to certify the effort report. This individual must have suitable means of verification for the employee’s reported time. The PI/co-PI/Financial Managers can certify as an alternate for any employee whose effort is tied to his/her project. The department chair and/or dean may be additional alternate certifiers.
While the effort certification process suggests a high degree of precision, there is an acknowledgement that this is impossible and that the process is based on estimates. The federal regulation states:
"It is recognized that, in an academic setting, teaching, research, service, and administration are often inextricably intermingled. A precise assessment of factors that contribute to costs is not always feasible, nor is it expected. Reliance, therefore, is placed on estimates in which a degree of tolerance is appropriate."
Effort reports issued after January 1, 2023 are generated on a monthly basis in the Banner Effort Reporting System. Certification periods are monthly. Certifiers have 15 days after the payroll period to certify their records. The Banner Effort Reporting System is accessible through the myMemphis portal in the "Employee’ tab and is accessible by clicking Effort Certification.
Unlocked records: Contact your Business Officer to create and submit a Banner Labor Redistribution. Once the Labor Redistribution has been completed you will be notified to complete the certification process.
Locked records: E-mail your Business Officers to submit a Request to Unlock Effort Certification Record form. This will route to the PI/Financial Manager, Chair, Dean, and Grants Accounting for approval. Once the request has been approved a Labor Redistribution will be created and you will be notified when you can update your Effort Certification record(s) and complete the certification process.
Please contact the Business Officer of the appropriate college or unit for help.