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The University receives federal funding on sponsored project agreements and is required to comply with OMB Circular A-21 (relocated to 2 CFR 220) which states that the University have a system in place for certifying salaries and wages associated with federally sponsored agreements. The Circular stipulates 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 semesterly for all UND departments by the Grants & Contracts Administration office.
It is required that employees who receive an effort certification form review the form to confirm that all 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.
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 15th 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 of Oracle. For assistance locating this information, please contact your department administrator, or feel free to 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 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.
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 allowable to request a salary correction for that pay period.
Below are links which explain 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:
- Effort Certification Presentation
- Effort Certification at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences
- How to Read Your PAC Form
- How to Verify that Your PAC Form is Correct
- How to Review Your Effort Per Pay Period
- How to Correct Your PAC Form
Listing of Proposed Effort By Employee
If an employee is working on multiple grant projects, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the proposed effort. The spreadsheet shown below may be helpful because it allows for organization of an employee's proposed effort by showing the UND project number, project title, sponsor, proposed effort, and start and end dates.