Guidance for Preparing Salary Adjustments using the Salary Redistribution Tool

Background/Federal Guidance

From the NIH Grants Statement and from 2 CRF Subpart D 200.303, grantees must have in place accounting and internal control systems that provide for appropriate monitoring of grant accounts to help ensure that obligations and expenditures are reasonable, allocable, and allowable.  Cost transfers by grantees that represent corrections of clerical or bookkeeping errors should:

  1. Be accomplished within 90 days of when the error was discovered,
  2. Be supported by documentation that fully explains: a) how the error occurred and b) a certification of the correctness of the new charge by a responsible organizational official,
  3. NOT contain an explanation merely stating that the transfer was made “to correct error” or “to transfer to correct project”,
  4. NOT be performed to transfer costs from one sponsored project to another or from one competitive segment to the next solely to cover cost overruns,
  5. NOT be performed to avoid restrictions imposed by law or terms of the sponsored project,
  6. NOT to be performed for other matters of convenience

Additionally, salary adjustments have a direct impact on time and effort/payroll distribution reporting data and the generation of complete and accurate periodic reports for certification.

Processing a Salary Redistribution 

The manner in which adjustments are entered and submitted through the Salary Redistribution tool is the same as adjustments for non-sponsored sources.  However, additional information is required in the Submission Note section before you submit an action for approval.

Once you have selected an employee, pay period end date, and made the necessary salary adjustments, at the top of the Adjustment Details screen select an appropriate reason for the salary/wage adjustment from the dropdown box.

Reason for the adjustment:

  1. Suspense:  Payroll distribution schedule/plan not established
  2. Suspense:  No-cost extension not in place in time to charge proper sponsored project
  3. Suspense:  Project/budget end date (multi-year program) forced payroll to suspense
  4. Adjusting payroll based on certified effort
  5. Adjusting payroll based upon review of generated effort report
  6. Adjusting payroll based upon project budget
  7. Adjusting payroll given changes in effort devoted between/among activities
  8. Payroll distribution is not accurate noted during reconciliation of project costs
  9. Payroll applied to wrong year/budget period of the same sponsored award
  10. Delay in sponsored project charged payroll to non-sponsored source
  11. Removing payroll to non-sponsored source to clear cost overrun/deficit
  12. Removing payroll to non-sponsored source to satisfy cost share commitment
  13. Collaborative project across departments:  Was not aware of employee involvement on sponsored project
  14. Transposition/Keying Error
  15. Adjusting payroll on non-sponsored funding sources
  16. Other:  Requires explanation in Submission Notes on why the adjustment is needed


On the Salary Redistribution Submission screen include the following in the Submission Notes Box (note limit of 250 characters):

  1. the ‘role’ of the individual on the sponsored project being charged **
  2. a context that describes how the individual is tied technically to the project – what is he/she doing to further the technical/scientific aims of the project? **

**Since most account numbers used to charge salary and wage are not descriptive enough to provide a ‘role’ for the individual and their contributions to a sponsored project it is necessary to identify how he/she contributes to the sponsored project.  For example, ‘511120 EPA Non Tech On Campus’ can include the PI, Co-PI, Research Associates/Research Assistants, Statisticians, etc. Similarly, the various ‘Staff’ account numbers can include Lab Managers, Lab Specialists, Lab Techs, Animal Techs, Clinical Research Coordinators, Web Developers, etc.

This is only required when charging salary to a sponsored project and the ‘role’ of the individual is not clear.  It is not required when removing costs from a sponsored project to a non-sponsored source.

3.  If Reason Code #16 is selected, please provide a description as to why the adjustment is needed.  The reason should describe how the error occurred.  The presence of these comments alone will result in the transaction being ‘reopened’ by the OSR reviewer and the transaction will returned to the submitter for correction.

  • Adjustment made to correct clerical error
  • Adjustment made to transfer to correct chartfield
  • Turnover in administrative staff/vacancies in staff support

OSR will receive the transactions as Level 3 approvers and assess the transaction for allowability, reasonableness, consistency, allocation, and timeliness.  The transaction will either be approved or reopened an returned to the submitter for correction.