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  Home > Furlough

Potential Impact on Sponsored Projects of a Temporary Faculty/P&A Salary Cut and Winter Closure in FY 2011

The following document addresses possible questions that investigators and staff may have about the impact on sponsored projects of a 1.15 percent temporary salary cut for faculty and P&A staff, plus a three-day winter closure in FY 2011.  Additional general questions should be directed to Pamela Webb at pwebb@umn.edu.  For questions related to a specific project, please contact the SPA grant administrator serving your unit.

Please also review the University’s general FAQ concerning the furlough to get additional questions answered.  Click  http://www.umn.edu/ohr/economyandu/furlough/index.html for that document.

  WINTER CLOSURE ISSUES:

 

1) I have grant proposal deadlines that occur during Winter Closure, what am I supposed to do?

Answer:  Grant proposals will need to be turned in to SPA in sufficient time for the proposals to be reviewed and submitted to the agency before the Winter Closure period begins.  SPA will publish dates well in advance by which proposals must be submitted for processing.  The significant amount of advance notice should assist faculty in planning their proposal preparation timetables to meet these deadlines.

 

 

2) My agency just released a funding opportunity in early December for submission during Winter Closure and I’m interested in pursuing it – how can this be handled? What if an agency requires additional information in order to make an award during Winter Closure?  Do I risk losing the award?

Answer:  SPA will have an emergency contact person on call to handle processing of materials that could not have been reasonably submitted prior to Winter Closure.  This contact person is not expected, however, to handle proposals or other materials that could reasonably have been submitted prior to Winter Closure but were not turned in on time.  SPA will request a description of the nature of the emergency when the emergency contact person’s services are needed.  Electronic proposals may still be sent to SPA’s proposal@umn.edu address by faculty working over the Winter Closure, but these will not be picked up by SPA for processing until the University re-opens.  There will be special instructions released for the handling of emergency proposals.

 

 

3) My agency is requiring a final report or final invoice by December 31st – how will this be handled?

Answer:  Technical reports due during Winter Closure must be submitted by the faculty to meet their agency’s deadline.  The advance notice of the Winter Closure should allow for advance planning in this regard.  If SPA needs to countersign such documents, the PI should submit them to SPA in advance of Winter Closure for processing (a SPA due date for these types of materials will be posted well in advance).  Invoices and final financial reports due during Winter Closure will be prepared and submitted by SFR prior to the start of Winter Closure.

 

 

4) I forgot to submit my request for a no-cost time extension to SPA and now my award is going to expire before everyone returns to work on January 3rd.  What do I do?

Answer:  A retroactive request to the agency must be prepared by the Principal Investigator and sent to SPA for countersignature and submission to the agency after the end of Winter Closure.  If the sponsor has written guidelines or has informed the investigator that a request for an extension will not be considered if received after the award end date, the PI may ask SPA’s emergency personnel to submit the request prior to the end of Winter Closure.



 

5) I have patients, human subjects, animals or cell lines that need to be cared for – how will they be taken care of during Winter Closure if I’m not there?  

Answer:  Activities that must be performed on a daily (or other regular basis) to ensure patient safety, the well-being of animals, or to ensure continuity of experiments will need to continue during Winter Closure.  In these instances, personnel needed to perform these activities will be allowed to work  during Winter Closure.  If these personnel are subject to the mandatory three day furlough, they will be expected  to take one or more of their furlough days at another time.

 

 

6) What about animal care costs?  If I am unable to work on my projects due to the Winter Closure, can the costs associated with maintaining research animals still be charged to my project(s)?  If I am not allowed to do my animal experiments over Winter Closure but I still have to pay for my animal care, I will no longer have sufficient grant funds to pay for these costs – what do I do?

Answer:  Activities that must be performed on a daily (or other regular basis) to ensure the well-being of animals must continue during Winter Closure.  Costs for animal care appropriate for charging to a sponsored project during other periods will be able to be charged during Winter Closure.  Principal Investigators will need to consider Winter Closure when deciding project schedules for acquiring, using, and sacrificing animals.  If a Principal Investigator is unsure whether the terms of his/her sponsored project allow rebudgeting (i.e., to pay for extra days of animal care), consult with the departmental research administrator or SPA.  No central pool of funds is available to pay for costs incurred because of Winter Closure.



 

7) The performance schedule of my project requires me to work during Winter Closure (experiments already initiated that flow into Winter Closure, access to specialized research facilities that cannot be rescheduled, scheduled collaborations with other off-campus researchers, experiments subject to specific timed schedules, off-campus professional or research meetings, regular meetings with community advisory groups, etc.). What do I do? 

Answer:  Faculty and P&A staff may work during  Winter Closure provided they don’t need access to facilities or staff impacted by Winter Closure. If such access is, however, needed, it is expected that schedules will be planned, adjusted, or rescheduled to avoid the need for such activities to be conducted during the Winter Closure period.

 

 

8) What if a site visit or audit is scheduled during the Winter Closure?

Answer: Many agency and audit personnel take time off during the holiday period as well as employees of the University, so it unlikely that an audit or site visit will be scheduled during this time.  If this arises, contact SPA (site visit) or SFR (audit) for guidance.

 

 

9) I will not be able to complete the obligations to my research sponsors without working during Winter Closure.

Answer:  Faculty and P&A staff may work during Winter Closure provided that they do not need access to staff or facilities impacted by the closure.  The three days that the University will be closed during Winter Closure constitute just over 1% of the working time during FY 11.  With the significant advance notice and the small total percentage of change in total work time, it is expected that Principal Investigators adjust their project performance schedule to accommodate the Winter Closure schedule.  Exceptions will be made only for extraordinary circumstances (See #7).

 

 

10) I will need to schedule patients, place orders for supplies or process travel requests during Winter Closure.  How can I ensure that adequate departmental and central staff will be available to help me?

Answer:  The University will be closed during this period and access to regular administrative services will not be available (except for emergency activities).  Investigators should plan ahead for their needs on their sponsored projects or plan to defer such requests until after the Winter Closure period.

 

 

11) Will the University be notifying sponsors or subrecipients of the dates of the furlough?

Answer:  No general sponsor or subrecipient notification is necessary.  SPA will ensure that all approved invoices received from subrecipients are paid prior to the start of Winter Closure; other invoices will be paid when everyone returns to work.  SPA will announce dates by which approved invoices must be received to ensure payment.

 

 

12) Does the Winter Closure impact the work of my subrecipients?

Answer:  Principal Investigators may wish to advise their subrecipients that they will not be available during Winter Closure to respond to requests, or review deliverables.  Emergency situations arising with subrecipients may be referred to SPA’s emergency contact person.  Principal Investigators who expect deliverables, invoices, or progress reports during Winter Closure may elect to defer review of those documents or may wish to offer revised due dates to their Subrecipients.

 

  GENERAL FURLOUGH ISSUES
 

13) Sponsored-funded employees may ask to be exempted from the furlough or the salary reduction, because their sponsor(s) are already paying their salary and the University will not save any money by including this cohort of employees.   

Answer:  The University considered this option.  The short duration of the furlough, the decision to close the University over the Winter Break, and the administrative challenges associated with managing individuals who are split-funded made this option impractical.

 

 

14) The University will lose sponsored direct costs and indirect cost revenue by implementing a furlough or salary cut, because some of the funding awarded for salaries will not be able to be used and have to be returned to the sponsor.

Answer:  Most sponsored awards include the authority for the Principal Investigator to rebudget funds within the overall objectives of the project.  If you are uncertain about the terms of your specific award, contact your department research administrator, certified approver, or SPA for guidance. 

For personnel working on sponsored projects less than full-time, PIs may decide to increase the percentage of effort for award-funded personnel at other times during the grant year to allow the work to be advanced.  Most sponsors do not require permission to increase the level of effort of project staff, provided that there is no overall change in the scope of the project. 

PIs also have the option to request a no-cost time extension (from SPA or the sponsor, as applicable) to allow the work to be conducted over a longer period of time, though it is unlikely that an extension will be needed solely because of the reduction of three work days (Winter Closure).

 

 

15) I will no longer be able to meet the deadlines I’ve promised my sponsor because of Winter Closure.  What should I do?

Answer:  In the event that mid-project deadlines cannot be met due to Winter Closure, the PI must write to his/her agency program officer describing the circumstances and proposing an alternative due date.  SPA must countersign these letters (in the case of NSF, Fastlane may be used).

For NSF projects, such notifications are required only if they meet the conditions expressed in the NSF Grants Award Administration Manual, Section 311.3a, “Significant Changes, Delays, or Events of Unusual Interest” which says:

“In the event there are problems, delays, or adverse conditions that will materially affect the ability to attain the objectives of the project or to meet such time schedules as may have been proposed, appropriate grantee officials should notify the NSF Program Officer.”

For projects that cannot meet end-of-project deadlines, the PI should request a no-cost time extension to allow the time needed to complete the project or obtain agency approval for late submission of a deliverable.  In some cases (most FDP projects, for example), SPA has the authority to approve a single no-cost time extension up to 12 months.

 

Under
Revision

16) What salary should I show on my grant proposals, since I will receive 1.15% less in pay during FY11?

Answer:  Currently under review and guidance will be provided shortly by SPA about how to handle the salary reduction in proposal.

 

 

17) How will the salary cut and furlough affect my effort certification?

Answer:  Effort certification will not be impacted by either the salary reduction or the furlough.  Effort certification is based on a percentage of paid effort.  For those subject to the mandatory three days of furlough In Effort Cycle 2, the basis for your paid effort will be three days shorter than in previous years – but the equivalent pro-rata amount of time spent on sponsored projects and other university activities will not change.  For those on salary reduction, there is no inherent change because the formula is based on a percentage of paid effort rather than on pay.

   

 

 

 
 
 
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