Summer Salary is any compensation paid during the summer period to an individual in excess of their Institutional Base Salary (IBS). It is calculated and paid at a percent effort rate, not in excess of the individual’s official IBS divided by the number of months in which IBS is paid. In other words, if you are a full-time, nine-month faculty member working in the summer, you can receive one-nineth of your annual academic year salary for each of the three summer months.
Can I receive Summer salary for my work on a sponsored program performed during the academic year?
Federal regulations stipulate that summer salary from sponsored programs “must be for actual work performed on the sponsored program from which the funds are paid and must be paid for personal services performed during the period stipulated.” Therefore, a faculty member cannot be paid in the summer period for work performed on the project in the previous nine-month academic year. Summer effort reports certified by the faculty member imply that the work was done in the summer.
If a non-federal sponsor will support a higher rate, can I receive Summer salary at a rate that is greater than my academic year rate?
The University adheres to federal regulations, which prohibit the use of sponsored program funds to “increase or supplement faculty salaries above the institutional scale for an individual’s salary.” However, when responsibilities are outside of the regular scope of work, additional compensation at a rate greater than the IBS can be requested and approved by the sponsor. In this case, the additional compensation must comply with the university overload policy provisions that limit such payment to 20 percent of the 12-month base salary.
If I receive full Summer salary, can I still take a vacation or work on other university activities?
Under the current university policy, faculty with less than twelve-month academic appointments do not earn paid vacation leave. As such, a faculty member who is paid 100 percent effort on all three months of the summer must forego vacation entirely during that time. Additionally, summer salary should not be paid on sponsored program funds if the faculty is involved in other university responsibilities during the summer (e.g., departmental administration, student advising, curriculum review, professional development and/or proposal writing.)
With the permission of department heads, a faculty member that has successfully obtained three full months of compensation from sponsored projects may use some of the funds to cover the equivalent amount of effort devoted to the sponsored projects during the academic year. The institutional funds that would have covered the effort of the academic-year salary could be used to support the same amount of salary during the summer period. This allows the faculty member to devote time in the summer period in support of academic and research activities not related to the sponsored project.
Do some agencies place caps on summer salary?
Summer salary is limited in each case by the terms of the supporting grant or contract and must be in accordance with granting agency policy. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level I of the Federal Executive Payscale. Faculty can still receive full compensation if above the capped amount. But the amount over the capped portion must be paid on a non-grant cost center, and UH is not obligated to cover it. Another example is the National Science Foundation (NSF) limiting the salary compensation for senior personnel to no more than two months of their IBS in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. The sponsor must approve exceptions to this limitation.
What’s the big idea?
Have a great summer — it is coming up quickly! For more questions, contact Beverly Rymer, Executive Director, Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of Houston — or your own institution’s internal grant offices.