When a proposal is awarded, it is a challenge to make an assessment of how to collaborate with external partners. The assessment must be based on actual current circumstances, not on what was expected at time of proposal. Will it result in a subcontract, employment, or the use of an independent contractor?
You will need to start from the beginning with what to the
external collaborator will do, then move toward the
conclusion. Getting this assessment right will save time
and trouble for everyone involved in the approval process.
Take note that assessments using the guidance below, the Service Contracting Wizard, or the Employee/Independent Contractor Assessment Tool
are not final. They are provisional, but help build the
case and provide documentation for one approach or another.
Appropriate UW officials will make the actual determination
when the time comes.
The first assessment to be made is whether this is a
subaward with an external institution or an agreement with
an individual. Utilize the following checklist to make
that determination. Note that the document refers to
Federal awards, but the determination is the same for
Federal and non-Federal sponsors.
Checklist to Determine Sub-recipient or Contractor Classification
If it is a sub-contract, then the department will need to
initiate a new subaward in the
Instructions for creating a new outgoing subaward are
linked on the Subaward Portal main page, and here:
Instructions for Creating New Outgoing Sub-award.
For more information regarding sub-awards, visit the
RSP Outgoing Sub-agreement page.
If it is not a subcontract situation, then you will need to
determine whether the individual will be an independent
contractor or an employee.
This is the second assessment, determining whether we
should treat the individual performing services as an
independent contractor, or hire the individual as an
employee. Refer to the
Advantages of Employment
document to familiarize yourself with features of employment.
Keep in mind that particulars may have changed between time
of proposal and time of award. The decision will be made
according to current conditions with the award in place.
Things may have changed since time of proposal, so you may
find that this assessment is different than what was
expected. Unfortunately, a change in what was expected can
have an impact on your budget, but we must make the
assessment based on the key factors, no matter what the
budget situation is, or what we thought was appropriate at
time of proposal.
The following linked documents describe some of the key
factors in making the employee vs. independent contractor
assessment. Review these documents in light of what the PI
plans to do.
UW System 235 Attachment 2: Factors to Consider in
Determining Employer-Employee Relationship
UW System 235 Attachment 3: Employee or Independent
Employee/Independent Contractor Assessment Tool
the main page of this website to perform this assessment.
If you prefer paper, the questionnaire linked below can be
used to make an independent contractor or employment
assessment. If this document was filled out at time of
proposal, you may use that earlier version for reference,
but be sure to make changes in keeping with the current
Please keep in mind Purchasing Services will make the final
determination when reviewing the service agreement request from your
Employee/Independent Contractor Determination Questionnaire
Review the material and fill out the employee/independent
contractor determination questionnaire.
If preliminary assessment indicates that you will need to hire the
individual, work with your HR group to hire the individual.
Review your award budget, taking salary, fringe, tuition
remission (if applicable) and F&A costs in mind.
If preliminary assessment indicates that you will need to work with the
individual as an independent contractor, you will prepare
a service agreement contractor agreement. Before moving ahead with the
paperwork, review your budget with the independent
contractor costs in mind. For more budgeting information
refer to Pre-Award Guidance: Budgeting Considerations on
PLEASE NOTE: If this employee vs. independent contractor
assessment makes a significant change in your award budget,
you may need to consult the sponsor before making the
necessary budget changes and going through with hiring the
employee or retaining the individual contractor. Review
your award terms and conditions (these can be found in
summary on the requirements tab of WISDM, and in detail in
the attached award document in the associated docs tab in
WISDM). Work with your RSP post-award accountant if prior
approval is required to make a change to the award budget.
If the assessment is that this will be an independent
contractor relationship, and you have no budget changes
(or have received sponsor approval to make the necessary
budget changes), you will need to
IMMEDIATELY contact purchasing
services to start the procurement process. Purchasing will
determine if the procurement process requires bidding or if
your request meets the standards for an Academic Support
The following documentation is required by Purchasing for
making this determination: