Office of Research

Description of Direct Personal Services

The University’s payroll system is based on the "percent of effort" concept. Federal regulations require each individual receiving salary support from a sponsored project to sign an after-the-fact certification of the effort distribution.

Unclassified Salaries—Exempt


Faculty members are compensated based on a nine-month or 12-month salary depending on their appointment. Twelve-month faculty members are paid biweekly based on their annual salary. Nine-month academic-year salaries are paid in 20 equal installments for the period August through May.

Summer Pay for Nine-month Faculty

Summer pay is based on the faculty member’s regular compensation for the continuous period that constitutes the basis of his or her salary. Faculty members on nine-month appointments are eligible for summer salaries. They are compensated at the same rate as the base period for the immediately preceding academic year, but compensation cannot exceed one-third of the nine-month rate for the entire summer. NSF allows only two-ninths of the academic year salary for summer pay. For part-time work or work during only part of the summer period, compensation will be adjusted proportionally.

Classified Staff

Exempt Staff

Exempt staff may be professional or administrative. They are paid an annual salary on a biweekly basis and are not eligible for overtime but are eligible for specific fringe benefits. Annual and sick leave may be accrued, and the accrual rate of annual leave depends on the length of service. Sick leave is a fixed amount of time credited monthly.

Non-exempt Staff

Non-exempt staff may be professional or administrative. They are paid an annual amount for a 37.50-hour week or portion thereof. If they work more than 40 hours in one week, they are eligible for overtime at one and one-half times their normal hourly compensation or compensatory time at time and one-half. Non-exempt staff members are eligible for specific fringe benefits. Non-exempt staff members accrue annual and sick leave. The rate of accrual for annual leave depends on the length of service, and sick leave is a fixed amount of time credited monthly.

Graduate Assistant Salaries

Each individual college or department sets compensation for graduate research and teaching assistants. They are paid a fixed amount for their overall contribution of effort, not on an hourly basis. They are eligible for coverage of worker’s compensation but are not eligible for other fringe benefits.

Salaries and Wages—Other

Temporary employees are staff members who work a limited period of time based on their appointment. In some cases, they are eligible for certain fringe benefits but not annual and sick leave.

Student employees are staff members who work a limited period of time based on their appointment. In most cases, they are paid an hourly wage and are eligible for worker’s compensation only.

Temporary Grant Position Salaries

Temporary Grant Positions are created for technical, professional and/or clerical staff employed for sponsored projects; the position must be identified in the budget as such and continue for the duration of the project. The project must be awarded before a temporary grant position can be established.

Annual, Holiday and Sick Leave

Annual, holiday and sick leave pay and other paid absences are included in salaries and wages and are claimed on grants, contracts and other agreements as part of the normal cost for salaries and wages. Separate claims for the costs of these paid absences are not made.

Intra-University Consulting (Dual Employment)

Clemson University policy normally prohibits employees from serving as paid consultants on intra-University programs. Personnel commitments necessary to perform intra-University-consulting activities are within normal job responsibilities unless the conditions listed below apply. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 permits faculty members in unusual cases to receive extra pay on a sponsored research agreement when they serve as consultants on a training or research grant for which another faculty member in another department is the PI. Prior approval by the granting agency, the affected University departments and the State Division of Human Resource Management is required. The PI must prove that consulting services are essential and cannot be provided by persons already budgeted for salary support on the grant or by departmental personnel. The consulting work performed must be in addition to the University employee’s established duties.

Before extra pay for intra-University consulting can be approved, all of the following conditions must exist:

  • The work performed is in addition to the regular departmental load. (The regular departmental load is as defined and documented by the individual’s college or department.)
  • The consultation crosses departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation.
  • The granting agency gives written prior approval.

Payroll Charges for Grant and Contract Account Numbers

The payroll system is both a time and an effort reporting system. When grants and contracts are involved, the effort reporting takes on major significance. A number of federal regulations must be met in order to satisfy audit guidelines. There are basically three ways in which the University system reports effort:

  • The originating Personnel Data Entry Form should reflect the budgeted account number(s) for the position. If these account numbers are correct and in the proper distribution, the effort is reported accurately and no adjustments are necessary.
  • Paysheets reflects the current distribution in the payroll master file for each employee. Changes to account numbers and distributions are permitted and encouraged on the paysheets. By making these changes on the paysheets, proper and timely effort reporting is enhanced.
  • Payroll charges generated from the paysheets are shown on the Payroll Voucher Report. The final opportunity to correct improper effort reporting is to correct those charges by means of the WEB Payroll Correction Form. After the charges have posted, you can see the detail on the PI Report.

Frequent communication among faculty members, principal investigators and departmental payroll staff is required to ensure good effort reporting and to avoid unnecessary corrections. Each department must develop proper communication channels and address problem areas. The following instructions apply to the effort certification process:

  • Secure a valid account number in advance for payroll charges. Monitor the monthly Budget Status Report for funds depletion and be prepared to change account numbers when necessary.
  • Report effort properly on the paysheet to avoid making corrections later. Again, good departmental communication is essential. Payroll charges to incorrect accounts (especially state funds) and later corrections to grant accounts are difficult to defend in an audit and could cause charges to be disallowed.
  • When absolutely necessary, payroll corrections should be made as quickly as possible and should not accumulate for several months. Corrections submitted on or after 90 days from the original payroll transaction must be approved and supported by written permission from the mission Vice President (VP) or his or her designee.  It is difficult to prove the department did not know whose effort was expended at the time of actual performance but does know three or four months later. All payroll corrections involving grant and contract accounts must be accompanied by documentation to substantiate the correction.