Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts


Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-031 - (See Notice NOT-OD-08-035)

Key Dates
Release Date: January 12, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

This notice provides updated information regarding the salary limitation for NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards. On January 7, 2005 the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 information on the salary limitation was published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

For seventeen consecutive years, Congress has legislatively mandated a provision for the limitation of salary. For FY 2006, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Public Law 109-149, restricts the amount of direct salary of an individual under an NIH grant or cooperative agreement (referred to here as a grant) or applicable contract to Executive Level I of the Federal Executive Pay scale. The Executive Level I annual salary rate was $180,100 for the period January 1 through December 31, 2005 (see NOT-OD-05-024, January 7, 2005). Effective January 1, 2006, the Executive Level I salary level increased to $183,500.

For the purposes of the salary limitation, the terms "direct salary," "salary," and "institutional base salary" have the same meaning and are exclusive of fringe benefits and facilities and administrative (F&A) expenses, also referred to as indirect costs. An individual's institutional base salary is the annual compensation that the applicant organization pays for an individual's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties to the applicant organization.

NIH grant/contract awards for applications/proposals that request direct salaries of individuals in excess of the applicable RATE per year will be adjusted in accordance with the legislative salary limitation and will include a notification such as the following:

According to the Act for FY 2006, "None of the funds appropriated in this Act for the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shall be used to pay the salary of an individual, through a grant or other extramural mechanism, at a rate in excess of Executive Level I“ of the Federal Executive Pay Scale. This is the sixth year that the limitation has been linked to Executive Level I of the Federal Pay Scale.

Please see the salary cap summary and the time frames associated with existing salary caps at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

Implementation of new salary limitation:

COMPETING grant applications and contract proposals that include a categorical breakdown in the budget figures/business proposal should continue to reflect the actual institutional base salary of all individuals for whom reimbursement is requested. In lieu of actual base salary, however, applicants/offerors may elect to provide an explanation indicating that actual institutional base salary exceeds the current salary limitation. When this information is provided, NIH staff will make necessary adjustments to requested salaries prior to award.

Questions & Answers

1. If a grant award (competing or non-competing) has already been issued in FY 2006, will an adjustment be made? No adjustments will be made. However, rebudgeting is allowable.

2. Can I rebudget grant funds or charge contracts issued in those years restricted to Executive Level l (see Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 – FY 2006) funds to allow for the 2006 salary cap increase? Yes, provided funds are available and the increase is warranted. Prorated figures should be used for the applicable months, i.e., the $183,500 level is effective beginning January 1, 2006.

3. If an application/proposal fails to provide needed salary information, will an adjustment be made based on the new rates? No adjustment will be made if an application fails to provide adequate information regarding the individual's actual salary level.

4. Does the NIH appropriation language link the salary cap to a Federal Executive Level or to a dollar level? The link is to the Federal Executive Level pay scale (i.e., Executive Level III for FY 1999 and Executive Level II for FY 2000 and Executive Level I for FYs 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006).

5. As the cap is linked to Federal Executive Levels, can grantees/contractors with ongoing awards rebudget/charge up to the various salary caps, based on the fiscal year of the award and the time of the salary expense is incurred? Yes, salary may be charged in accordance with the FY cap(s), as long as the levels are consistent with the individual's institutional base pay. Please refer to the salary cap summary with times frames for existing salary caps, at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

6. Will grantees be permitted to submit revised categorical budgets reflecting higher base salaries? Not as a general rule. NIH policy for categorical budgets states that grantees should always reflect actual base salaries in the requested budgets or provide an explanation indicating that actual institutional base salary exceeds the current salary limitation. As a general rule, NIH will use the information available in the existing application and make adjustments for the salary cap based on information available at the time of award.

The following are examples of the adjustments that NIH will make when salaries exceed the current salary limitation:

Example 1. Individual with Full-Time Appointment (based on grant award/contract issued after January 1, 2006 with a $183,500 salary limitation)

Individual's institutional base salary for a FULL-TIME twelve month) appointment

$ 195,000

   

Research effort requested in application/proposal - 50%

 

Direct Salary requested

$   97,500

Fringe benefits requested (25% of salary)

$   24,375

Subtotal

$ 121,875

 

Applicant organization's F&A (indirect) costs at a rate of 45% of subtotal

$   54,844

   

Amount requested - salary plus fringe benefits plus associated F&A (indirect) costs

$ 176,719

 

If a grant/contract is to be funded, the amount included for the above individual will be calculated as follows:

 

Direct salary - restricted to a RATE of

$ 183,500

Multiplied by effort (50%) to be devoted to project

$   91,750

Fringe benefits (25% of allowable salary)

$   22,938

Subtotal

$ 114,688

   

Associated F&A (indirect) costs at 45% of subtotal

$   51,610

   

Total amount to be awarded due to salary limitation

$ 166,298

   

Amount of reduction due to salary limitation

($176,719 requested minus $166,298 awarded)

$   10,421

Example 2. Individual with Half-Time Appointment (based on a grant award/contract issued after January 1, 2006 with a $183,500 salary limitation)

Individual's institutional base salary for a HALF-TIME appointment (50% of a full-time twelve month appointment)

$   97,500

 

Research effort requested in application/proposal 30%

 

Direct Salary requested

$   29,250

Fringe benefits requested (25% of salary)

$     7,313

Subtotal

$   36,563

 

Applicant organization's F&A (indirect) costs at a rate of 45% of subtotal

$   16,453

 

Amount requested - salary plus fringe benefits

 

plus associated F&A (indirect) costs

$   53,016

 

If a grant/contract is to be funded, the amount included in the award for the above individual will be calculated as follows:

 

Direct salary - restricted to a RATE of

$   91,750

For a 50% appointment multiplied by 30% effort

$   27,525

Fringe benefits (25% of allowable salary)

$     6,881

Subtotal

$   34,406

 

Associated F&A (indirect) cost at 45% of subtotal

$   15,483

 

Total amount to be awarded due to salary limitation

$   49,889

 

Amount of reduction due to salary limitation

 

($53,016 requested minus $49,889 awarded)

$     3,127

Inquiries

Questions concerning this notice or other policies relating to grants or contracts should be directed to the grants management or contracts management office in the appropriate NIH Institute or Center.


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