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Changes to Federally-Funded Compensation Costs Related to COVID-19

October 16, 2020

COVID-19 VirusAs a result of new Federal guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) is advising U-M’s federally-funded research community of:

  • A new time tracking code to be used for reporting a lack of work on timesheets, and 
  • A new process and source of funding for certain employee compensation charges related to COVID-19 (Federal funds only).

Please note that these process changes are retroactive to June 17, 2020, to comply with previously announced changes in allowable costs per Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo M-20-26.

1.  New time tracking code for reporting Federally funded lack of work related to COVID-19

Effective June 17, 2020, employees who did not have, or still do not have, available work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., a lack of work), should use the new time tracking code LOW (Lack of Work Tracking) in combination with the existing exception time codes RPN (Regular Pay Not Worked)/PAN (Pandemic Tracking).  

Prior period timesheet adjustments will need to be made for Federally-funded idle time that has been reported since June 17, 2020.

2.  New process and source of funding for certain COVID-19 related employee compensation costs charged to Federal funds

Effective June 17, 2020, compensation costs for U-M approved leaves that would otherwise have to be covered by a Federal award will instead be covered by U-M from a central fund, consistent with the following: 

Type of Absence U-M will cover costs associated with...
Voluntary furlough University contribution to benefits (n.b., employee portion covered by University Benefits Office).
Involuntary furlough University contribution to benefits, as outlined in SPG 201.73.
Expanded-FMLA Salary, wages, and benefits incurred through December 31, 2020, for employees with at least 30-days service.
COVID-19 Paid Time Off Salary, wages, and benefits incurred due to lack of work on or after June 17, 2020, for employees hired on or before June 7, 2020.

3.  Processes for moving payroll charges off of Federal funds. 

The processes for moving applicable payroll charges off of Federal funds are manual and should be completed no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 15, 2020.

  • For employees who complete(d) timesheets, the Payroll Office will run a query to identify hours reported in any of the leave categories listed above and will process transfers in the weekly off-cycle payroll to move these charges from the Federal shortcode to a shortcode in the U-M Office of Research (UMOR).
  • For research fellows and faculty who are not in U-M’s central timekeeping system, the unit must complete a salary transfer request form located on the Payroll website, and identify the applicable leave categories listed above that need to be transferred from the Federal shortcode to a UMOR shortcode. Once these forms are received by the Payroll Office, a transfer will be processed in a weekly off-cycle payroll.

Please note that the Provost has committed to providing funding for this through December 31, 2021, after which the program will be reviewed to determine if U-M’s approach is sustainable for the longer term.

Please contact Bryan Van Sickle at with questions.