Human Resources

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Summer Salary on Sponsored Awards

The 2014 Research Foundation faculty summer appointment dates run from May 19 through August 15. SUNY faculty members with an academic commitment, requesting summer salary beyond two months, must submit a Waiver Request approved and signed by your Chair or Dean. Summer salary must not exceed three months and must not overlap any part of a faculty member’s academic year obligation. Summer salary waivers must be in writing and retained per RF policy.

Summer salary is based upon actual effort provided during the summer months, and should not be based upon effort provided during the prior or upcoming academic year. The summer session is often spent preparing and submitting proposals to funding agencies; this activity may not be compensated with summer salary from a sponsored program account. Only activities directly related to the research project such as research, writing progress reports, attending research-related conferences and/or holding research meetings can be charged to a sponsored project. Non-related activities, such as preparing/submitting competitive proposals, non-sponsor-related research, vacations, attending department/school faculty meetings, teaching, teaching preparation, administrative work, university service, and attending non-sponsor-related conferences cannot be charged to sponsored projects.

Summer salary from all SUNY and RF sources must not exceed the faculty member’s base full-time salary rate divided by the number of months covered by the faculty member’s academic year obligation. Summer salary is inclusive of all SUNY teaching and administrative stipends paid during the summer session. Summer salary from NSF funded grants is limited to two 9ths of the academic year salary (salary x 22.2%).

In order to be placed on Research Foundation payroll, the following forms are required:

TIMELINESS

It is critical that PIs complete and submit the required paperwork in a timely manner. Forms must be received no later than one day after the date of hire so that E-Verifications can be performed in the required timeframe. PIs should anticipate these requirements when making offers to potential employees. Departments can fax the I-9 and appointment forms to 437-4504.

The RF is required to electronically verify work authorization for all newly hired employees (including students) within 72 hours (3 days) of the 1st day of work. In addition, all rehires with a break of 4 months must be E-Verified within 3 days. Research Foundation Human Resources will be responsible for performing verifications in the E-Verify system. This requirement applies to all SUNY faculty receiving summer salary through the RF payroll.

E-Verify is an internet based verification system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), that allows an employer, using information on an employee’s form I-9, to electronically verify employment eligibility.

To avoid payroll delays, please ensure that all forms are completed and submitted to Research Foundation Human Resources, Management Services Center Room 326, by the payroll deadlines listed on RF Biweekly Calendar Deadline 2013.

FRINGE BENEFIT RATES

Fiscal year 2014 (effective July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014)  

Summer-only

17.0%

Graduate Students

15.0%

Undergraduate students

5.0%

Regular employees

41.0%

SUNY IFR

58.75%

Fiscal year 2015 (effective July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015)  

Summer-only

15.0%

Graduate Students

14.0%

Undergraduate students

5.0%

Regular employees

42.5%

SUNY IFR

53.48%

EXCEPTION REPORT REQUIREMENT

RF Time Reporting Policy requires all Research Foundation employees, including students and summer faculty, to complete an exception report for each calendar month. Please complete the Exception Report for Non-accruing Employees and submit it to 326 MSC after the close of each month.

BENEFITS

Summer Research Foundation employees may be eligible for the following benefits, depending on eligibility requirements:

  • Social Security

  • Unemployment Insurance

  • Workers' Compensation

  • New York State Disability

  • Basic Retirement Plan

  • Optional Retirement Plan - employees who meet the eligibility criteria can make voluntary before-tax contributions to the Research Foundation's Optional Retirement Plan. Please contact Gail Redick at 437-4506 to request an enrollment form.

To determine eligibility for participation in any of the benefit programs, please contact Gail Redick at 437-4506.

H-1B VISA HOLDERS

A full-time SUNY employee, holding an H-1B visa for work at SUNY, must obtain a concurrent H-1B visa for Research Foundation work. The H-1B is an employment based petition. Because SUNY and the Research Foundation are separate employers, an H-1B obtained by SUNY does not authorize the person to work for any other employer, including the Research Foundation. Since the process for obtaining an H-1B can be time consuming, departments may consider keeping a summer only employee on the SUNY payroll and processing an IFR assignment for the person's Research Foundation work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why are approvals needed for summer salary over 2 months?
Research Foundation policy requires a waiver to extend summer employment for a SUNY faculty member beyond two months. In addition, federal auditors are closely reviewing summer salaries to ensure they are fairly charged for costs of research. Yale University announced a $7.6 million settlement with the Justice Department for, among other issues, allegations that summer salary was charged 100 percent when actual effort was spent during the academic year, or on unrelated grants, or not directly related to grant activity. UAlbany needs to ensure that our policies protect faculty members and the institution.

2. Is there any case in which a faculty member can take three months of summer research salary from sponsored projects?
Yes, faculty can submit a Waiver Request approved and signed by your Chair or Dean. You will need to specify all of your activities during this time period before the salary request will be processed and certify that only activities directly related to the research project such as research, writing progress reports, attending research-related conferences and/or holding research meetings will be charged to a sponsored project.

3. May I use the hours I work beyond 40 hours each week (evenings and weekends) for administrative tasks or writing proposals?
The University and federal agencies consider effort, not time. If an investigator's effort on University activities is typically more than 40 hours per week, or includes evenings and/or weekends, then "all hours worked" constitutes 100 percent effort. Thus, one cannot use time above 40 hours per week for tasks unrelated to the sponsored project paying the summer salary.

4. Can I go to a conference while I am being paid from a sponsored project?
Yes, if the conference is related to the sponsored project; you must certify that the effort (time spent) at the conference is relevant to the sponsored project.

5. If I receive three months of summer salary from sponsored projects can I write proposals or do administrative work?
No. If an investigator receives three months of summer salary from sponsored projects, the funding agencies do not allow for time to write proposals, work on other research, or do significant administrative work beyond de minimis activity (e.g. brief consultation with graduate students, handling an occasional non-project-related phone call or email, or attending a short, rare administrative meeting).

6. What should be considered as part of my University effort?
Your total University effort is made up of whatever research, teaching and administrative activities are necessary to fulfill your University responsibilities. Activities that generally should not be thought of as being part of your University responsibilities include: external consulting; serving on external boards, study sections, or national committees; community service; professional societies; and editorial and journal reviews.

7. Why can't faculty use a 40-hour week as a base for their sponsored project reporting and then consider the additional hours needed to fulfill their other University responsibilities (e.g., teaching activities) as time that they "volunteered" to the University? Aren't the sponsors getting what they paid for?
There is no standard faculty work week. Faculty members--and other salaried employees--are compensated not for a standard work week, but for the duties they are expected to perform under the terms of their employment. Sponsors are paying for a percentage of the faculty member's total University effort, whatever that may be.

8. Is it appropriate for non-faculty academic positions to have 100% sponsored project effort?
Some spend time writing grant proposals, working with students and serving on University committees. If the grant proposal or student and committee work are not directly benefiting the sponsored project as a direct cost, then the effort and proportionate amount of salary should not be charged to the project.

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The Research Foundation is an employer separate and distinct from SUNY and the State of New York, thereby offering separate and distinct compensation and benefits.  Please contact the RF HR Office with any questions pertaining to Research Foundation employment policies and procedures.