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Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

Salaries and Benefits


The largest category of expense on any sponsored program budget is normally personnel expenses — salaries and benefits. Proposals should accurately represent the amount of direct research effort that personnel are committing to the project.

An employee's requested salary amount on a sponsored project is based on the employee's annual compensation paid by the University for that employee's appointment (i.e. institutional base salary or "IBS").

Employee benefits (i.e., fringe) are a direct cost calculated as a percentage of salary.



List the names and titles of personnel committing effort to this project. Include an estimate of the number of months or percentage of time each will devote to the sponsored activity, the salary rate, and the total amount of salaries to be paid to each person.

Summer Salaries

For faculty with 9 month appointments, most sponsors permit compensation during the summer at their regular University salary rates for sponsored projects. The University limits summer salaries to 2.5 months. For guidance and process go here.

For faculty with 9 month appointments who seek summer sponsored funding, academic year and summer effort should be budgeted as separate line items.


Salary supplements are awarded for a variety of reasons including temporary additional responsibilities and administrative duties. All salary supplements must be approved by Academic Human Resources (AHR) and are subsequently included in the calculation of Institutional Base Salary. For more information see AHR Supplements and Institutional Base Salary. These supplements include:

  • Administrative Supplement
  • Endowed Supplement
  • Summer Salary

Provision for Anticipated Salary Increases

Provision for anticipated salary increases should be made in sponsored project budgets when allowed by the sponsor. These increases should be considered for any program extending for more than one year. The salary budget should be properly footnoted to explain the types of anticipated salary increases, the rate of increase, and the period to which the increases apply.

There are three types of salary increases, which should be shown as follows:

Cost of Living Increases
These are not set in UW policy. Some sponsors impose a limit and cost of living allowances (COLA) increases must be reasonable and justified in the proposal.
Mandatory Step Increases
Projected step increases should also be provided in accordance with step increases for classified staff. If the individual to fill a particular position has not yet been identified through the formal recruitment process, the position budget generally should be at the middle range for that title.
If a faculty member is scheduled to receive a promotion before the project start date or during the program period, this should be documented and justified accordingly.

Administrative and Clerical Salaries

Allowability of Administrative/Clerical Salaries — Guidance and Process

The salaries of administrative and clerical staff should normally be treated as F&A costs. Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate where a major project or activity explicitly budgets for administrative or clerical services and individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity.

"Major project" is defined as a project that requires an extensive amount of administrative or clerical support, which is significantly greater than the routine level of such services provided by academic departments. Four criteria must be met for direct charging administrative expenses to a sponsored project:

  • Incurred for the performance of a major project or activity
  • Specifically identified and directly benefiting the project
  • Budgeted and specifically-approved by the sponsor
  • Supported by a budget justification

If the expense is questioned, the PI will need to justify the charges to the sponsor and any auditors, and will be responsible for paying back any unallowable expenses, if required.

Benefit Rates

Employee Benefits (i.e., fringe) are a direct cost charged as a percentage of salary. Benefit rates, like F&A rates, are negotiated and approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), UW's cognizant federal audit agency. The rates apply to all sponsored projects.

Each year the UW negotiates new benefit/fringe rates for future years. As these preliminary rates become available, they are published in the GIM 3 Rate table until such time as they are approved and become the Current Rates.

To calculate benefit costs, use the Current Rates for the applicable time period, and use the Preliminary Rates for all future years. Actual fringe benefit rates charged to a sponsored project will reflect the current approved rates for that fiscal year.

GIM 3 provides a table of current and preliminary Benefit rates.