Completing Fall Time and Effort for Federally Funded Staff

Completing Fall Time and Effort for Federally Funded Staff

December 29, 2021 | Financial Management

Time and effort are two things we all wish we had more of, but what do they mean in federal grants lingo? You may have been asked by auditors before for “time and effort” paperwork for your federally-funded personnel. With the fall semester coming to an end, it is time to pay attention to this task. Time and effort documentation is completed according to what percent of the employee’s salary is paid by federal funds or State Comp Ed (SCE). The percent paid by federal/SCE should match the amount of time the employee spends doing the federal/SCE job. The purpose is to ensure that federal grant funds are only spent on federal grant work. Please continue reading to find out the correct type of time and effort to complete.

Over the next two weeks, the CSS team will be communicating with client schools about the Time and Effort requirement to be sure that federally-funded or SCE staff salaries are appropriately documented.

What are the correct types of time and effort for federally funded/SCE funded staff?

  1. Semi-Annual Certification form – for staff paid 100% from a single federal grant/100% SCE OR is split funded but only has one job function (single cost objective). The form is filled out at the end of each semester. There is no state template. The form should state that in the semester that just ended, the employee verifies that he or she worked 100% of his or her time in that federal grant/SCE job. It is signed by both the employee and supervisor, or just the supervisor. This means that the employee was not assigned to other job duties and federal grant funds or SCE were not used to pay the position for unallowed duties (a 10% variation is allowed). CSS provides our clients with samples of Semi-annual Certification templates.
  2. Substitute System of Time and Effort – for staff who is “split funded” with a federal grant and any other fund source (multiple job activities). Employees must follow a consistent schedule for the split of time in order to use this system. For example, an employee may have a simple split of 50% of the day for SPED and 50% for Title I following the same schedule every week. If the schedule varies and is never consistent, this system may not be used. You must get approved by TEA and be on the list in order to use this system. More information is available at the TEA Substitute System website. The deadline to apply to use this system for the Fall 2021 semester was December 1, 2021. Complete a Management Certification Survey to apply for the spring or summer semester (prior to your semester start date). Once approved, you are good for two years before approval is needed again.
  3. Monthly PARs – for staff whose split of time between jobs varies and is inconsistent. Time is tracked every day, and at the end of the month (or pay period) is totaled up to determine how much is paid from each fund source. This is commonly called a “time sheet.” Each day the employee would record the start and end time for each job task in 15-minute increments. Although the employee’s paycheck amount wouldn’t change, the percent from each budget code would change each month according to the percent of time they spent on each job.

What about Covid funds?

Generally speaking, Covid funds are federal funds and follow the same rules. The only exception are ESSER funds. TEA has said that time and effort is not required unless the position is split funded with a job that is not allowed under ESSER. HOWEVER, you must have in your federal grants manual a “disaster exception statement” in your section about time and effort. This means that if you do not have a statement in your manual that says normal time and effort procedures will not be followed (when allowed by TEA) for federal disaster funding, then you must follow your normal written procedures. ESSER staff split with a federal fund that DOES require time and effort (such as Title I) must complete time and effort.

We applied for the Sub System – now what?

Qualified campus-based staff members should have downloaded and completed the schedule tab of the employee schedule and certification form. Both a sample version and fillable version are available on the Substitute System TEA Website.

  1. The form includes 3 tabs: instructions, schedule, and certification.
  2. Open the Certification tab.  Using the totals from the Schedule tab, provide the requested totals on the Certification page.
  3. Print the page, secure the appropriate signatures, and keep it on file with back up documentation.
    • The certification should be signed and dated immediately after the last pay period of the semester ends.
    • The backup should include a copy of the teacher’s individual daily and weekly schedules.
    • Remember that time and effort documentation is ALWAYS after-the-fact.
  4. Download and complete a schedule for the Spring Semester.
  5. Retain the original Semi-Annual Certification form in the employee HR record for audit purposes. It is not submitted to TEA unless requested.

Important! – A federal job description for each position paid by a federal grant is also part of time and effort. The job description should be signed and dated annually on or before the employee’s first day of assignment in the federally-funded or SCE-funded position.

Questions? Please contact the CSS Federal Team:

Ask questions, get answers and discuss on the Charter School Community Roundtable now!