Effort Commitments and Payroll Certification

Page Updated: May 24, 2024


Effort is the time spent on an activity, expressed as a percentage of all the time an individual spends on their UW-Madison job duties.

A sponsored project is an activity that is funded by a grant, contract or cooperative agreement under which there is a scope of work, a specific budget and specified terms and conditions. It requires detailed financial accountability and compliance with the sponsor's terms and conditions.

An effort commitment is the amount of effort (time/labor) you propose in a grant proposal or other project application, and that the sponsor accepts – regardless of whether you request salary support for the effort. Commitments are specific and quantified and can be expressed in months or as a percentage of your work over a given project period. A commitment is an obligation of effort (time/labor) that the University must fulfill. Cost shared effort is any work on a sponsored project for which the University, rather than the sponsor, provides salary support. Sponsor paid effort is work for which the sponsor provides direct salary support. Both cost shared effort and sponsor paid effort on federally sponsored projects require payroll certification.

Project-based payroll certification is UW-Madison's means of assuring compensation compliance on federally sponsored projects. Payroll certification is an after-the-fact review and attestation that the payroll charged to a federally sponsored project is reasonable in relation to the work performed. Payroll must be certified by the project's PI or their approved designee. Payroll certification requires assurance that payroll charged to a federal sponsor is reasonable in relation to work performed. UW-Madison uses the web-based Employee Compensation Compliance (ECC) system to certify federally sponsored project compensation.

Glossary of additional terms and definitions

Questions? Send an email to ecc@rsp.wisc.edu.

ECRT (retired 7/1/23)

Please Note

Effort reporting in ECRT has been replaced by project-based payroll certification in ECC. UW-Madison made this change beginning with the period of performance that started 12/19/2021. Effective 7/1/2023, ECRT is no longer an active application and has been retired from general campus use. Questions on this change can be directed to ecc@rsp.wisc.edu.

Effort Reporting and Certification

Effort must be reported and certified for all individuals who receive salary support from a sponsored project or who expend committed effort on a sponsored project regardless of receiving salary support from the sponsor.

Effort Reporting is our means of providing assurance to sponsors that:

  • Salaries charged to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the work performed, and
  • Faculty and staff have met their commitments to sponsored projects.

Success in the effort realm depends on careful attention to important issues throughout the sponsored projects lifecycle.