Types of Effort and Salary

What is Institutional Effort?

Institutional effort is the total time spent by a faculty or exempt staff member on university activities. This includes teaching, research, patient care, service and administrative duties. university responsibilities are reflected in and required by the individual’s appointment letter, contract or job description with the university.

Institutional effort also includes research and clinical activities paid for or managed by the Health Research Association, USC Care Medical Group, Inc. and medical directorships.

Institutional effort does not include time devoted to activities compensated directly by LAC+USC Medical Center (MSOA) (i.e., direct county-paid employees), Children’s Hospital Medical Group (CHMG), USC Roski Eye Institute or USC Alfred Mann Institute.

What is institutional base salary?

Institutional base salary (IBS) is the total guaranteed USC salary set in advance by the provost for the year (including core salary, supplemental salary, administrative stipend and fixed clinical salary, but excluding incentive payments or bonuses) that is paid to a faculty or staff employee for Institutional Effort (including teaching, research, administration, service and patient care activities, but excluding overload teaching.)

IBS includes core salary and supplemental salary. Your USC core salary is included no matter the ultimate source of the funds (MSOA, CHMG (re-billable), sponsored projects or other USC funding sources). Supplemental salary includes stipends, fixed clinical salary and other USC supplementary salary — providing that it is set in advance, awarded according to university policy and consistently applied. These can include administrative stipends and clinical supplements.

Please note that a faculty member’s institutional base salary often is not the same as his/her total compensation. This is because IBS does not include certain money you receive from USC, including:

  • clinical incentives (usually paid quarterly)
  • clinical bonuses (usually paid annually)
  • teaching overloads
  • summer pay administrative stipends for nine-month faculty
  • summer research supplements for nine-month faculty
  • bonuses that are not set in advance and part of regular salary commitment
  • housing subsidies
  • education loan repayments

Institutional base salary (IBS) also excludes any income you may earn outside of your duties to USC and any income that is outside of institutional effort. For example:

  • external consulting
  • direct pay from LAC+USC Medical Center
  • pay from USC Roski Eye Institute
  • pay from Children’s Hospital Medical Group

A faculty member’s offer letter or continuing appointment letter should reflect his or her IBS for the current fiscal year.

Why is IBS important for effort reporting?

IBS is the salary that a grantee includes in its NIH and other grant proposal budgets, and the salary that is allocated to federal grants through the university’s payroll allocation and effort reporting systems. In general, federal sponsors require that IBS be paid by the grantee itself.

IBS is the basis for determining how much salary should be charged to grants and contracts. For example, if an individual proposes to devote 10 percent of his or her effort to the project, 10 percent of his or her IBS should be budgeted (if there is no cost sharing approved by the dean, and if the person is under the NIH cap).

Salary is charged to the grant or contract based on a good faith estimate of effort actually expended, unless a salary cap (such as the NIH cap) is involved. The salary charged, as a percentage of IBS, then is the same as the percent of effort for effort certification. The effort charged can never exceed the effort devoted to a sponsored project.

For example, if you charge $10,000 of salary to a grant over the year and have an annual IBS of $100,000, that is a certification that your annual effort to the grant is 10 percent of your institutional effort. At USC, certification is done more often than once a year, usually on a quarterly or semester basis, so actual certification percentages are based on salary charged for the certification period and a pro-rated IBS.

What is included in the Other Institutional Effort category in eCert?

Effort for teaching, administration, service and patient care is included in the Other Institutional Effort category.

This category also includes:

  • medical directorships
  • any Voluntary Uncommitted Cost-Share effort
  • USC Care Medical Group effort

Non-IBS effort, with the exception of summer research funding for nine-month faculty, is not included in this category and does not have to be certified. Summer research supplements for nine-month faculty must be certified even though they are not included in IBS.

Is effort calculated based on a 40-hour workweek?

Effort is not calculated based on a 40-hour workweek or any other number of hours a week. Instead, for a full-time employee, it is based on 100 percent of effort for USC.

Do part-time employees certify to less than 100 percent effort?

No, they certify to 100 percent effort as well, even if their appointment level is less than 100 percent. They are certifying USC effort, not some percentage of the total week. For example, an employee with a 60 percent appointment split evenly between two grants would certify to 50 percent of USC effort on one grant and 50 percent of USC effort on the other grant for a total of 100 percent effort.

My administrative appointment is at-will and subject to termination with a 90-day notice.  Does that affect my IBS?

No. The administrative stipend is still considered part of the IBS for proposing and charging effort, even if the appointment can be terminated. In the event that an appointment is terminated, increased, reduced or revised, then the IBS should be adjusted at that time.