Hiring Research Personnel

Personnel assigned to sponsored projects (funds begin with 16, 18, 21, and 22), like all other personnel, must be appointed and compensated in keeping with federal, state, and university personnel rules. Classified staff matters are covered by the Florida Department of Education and HR Policies. Additional faculty policies are covered in the Faculty Handbook (links updated) 1/8/14 or questions may be addressed to the Office of the Provost for Academic Affairs.

Appointment of Personnel

RSP Grants Specialists serve as liaisons to UWF Human Resources (HR) to help researchers with questions about the employment of individuals working on sponsored projects. For assistance in these matters, contact your RSP Grants Specialist.

Line-Salaried Employees

Salaried employees must be classified in accordance with the appropriate university pay plan (Faculty or University Work Force) and are entitled to  (insurance, retirement, annual and sick leave benefits) that are funded by the contract or grant through the appropriate fringe benefit percentage rate applicable to the base salary. Employees entirely compensated by grants or contract-funded projects should be encouraged to take annual leave during the performance period.


Faculty titles and their use are regulated by the Provost and the respective dean's office and are shown in the Information Navigator report Position Classes (OHR000004) report. Generally, a master's degree is a minimum requirement. The faculty plan has no set pay ranges, but all appointments are subject to the approval of the dean or director and the provost.

End of Appointment or Notice of Non-Renewal of Employees

Faculty and UWF staff who are covered by an employment contract (issued at initial employment or upon initial appointment to a grant project) are notified in this document and all subsequent contracts of the time-limited nature of their employment and that no further notice of cessation of employment is required. PIs are provided notice at 90-60-30 day intervals prior to a scheduled end of a grant project and are encouraged to provide notice to all employees on the project as soon as the notices have been received if continued funding has not been assured.

OPS Employees

Other Personal Services (OPS) appointments are temporary by nature and are expected to exist no longer than the specific period of appointment. Although no formal notice to these employees is required, PIs are encouraged to provide as much notice prior to a termination of the appointment to the employee as possible.

OPS appointments provide temporary or short-term staffing needs, including faculty, administrative and professional, support staff, and student employment. OPS employees are not eligible for leave/holiday pay. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March 2010 requires employers throughout the country to offer affordable health insurance coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more on average per week. For the purposes of insurance coverage only, these employees will be considered full-time and will be offered health insurance coverage and other insurance benefits. A small portion of the fringe benefit percentage is assessed to OPS salaries paid to cover the costs for FICA payroll taxes and Workman’s Compensation benefits. OPS classifications and pay plans are available on the UWF HR Website.

OPS appointments may be made for “contract” appointments in which the individual is paid a salary rate to accomplish duties assigned without regard to actual hours worked. This type of appointment is usually made for a professional or faculty level appointment, and the employees will be paid based on the prorated rate for the period of appointment. No time sheets are required, but the PI (or other designated party) must certify each pay period that the work for the FTE appointment has been completed. Unless Payroll is notified, OPS employees in this category and appointed at a biweekly rate remain in full pay status at the assigned FTE during pay periods containing holidays. When change to the biweekly rate for work performed is necessary due to illness, vacation or contracted work not performed during a period when the university is closed, the PI/supervisor is expected to notify Payroll (e-mail is acceptable) on or before time certifications are due for payroll processing.

Graduate Students

Fully matriculated graduate students may be appointed as Graduate Assistants or Graduate Research Assistants under grant-funded projects and paid on an hourly basis (see Minimum Pay Rates for Graduate Assistants - PDF). The student’s approved biweekly time sheet serves as the appropriate support documentation of direct costs for grants. Graduate students employed at least 10 hours per week are eligible for matriculation fee waiver (usually partial in-state fees) processed through the appropriate college office. The student must be appointed for the entire length of the term for which the tuition payment is awarded. Whenever possible, investigators are encouraged to include graduate student tuition at the in-state level or the matriculation fee waiver equivalent in their proposed project budgets (see Preparing a Budget).

Student Employment Classification and Pay Plan documents are available at Human Resources Student Employment including information on requisition to fill and requirements for appointment. For assistance, contact your RSP Grants Specialist.

With the permission of the sponsor, students may be paid a stipend for work and education during a specific period of time such as an academic term. Stipends are considered compensation in lieu of salary for students and are usually awarded to graduate research assistants who are working directly under a faculty member’s supervision as part of an educational experience. Stipends require a written agreement between the faculty member and the student to outline the expectations of performance and a formal assessment (such as a grade on a directed individual study, thesis credit or approved internship enrollment) completed at the end of the appointment period. The faculty member’s assessment of the student’s performance is expected to include documentation of hours worked toward the completion of the objectives. Stipends must be reported to Student Financial Aid and are calculated as part of the student’s total financial aid package.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students may be employed in any Student Employment Classification other than those specifically designated at the graduate student level. The policies and procedures for these appointments are similar to those for graduate students and details may be found at the Human Resources Student Employment web site.

Release Time

All personnel working on sponsored projects must be assigned by the department chair or other responsible individual for the period of time and percentage of effort devoted to the sponsored project. This assignment may be compensated by the grant or paid from departmental funds as cost sharing to the project. However, if personnel are appointed to and paid from the sponsored project, “salary savings” occur within the departmental budget and can be released for other purposes within the university, subject to administrative approval. Refer to Preparing a Budget.

The faculty member is expected to be released from the portion (percentage) of the full-time contact hour equivalency. Salary and fringe for this portion is recaptured as a percentage of salary savings. This percentage may vary depending on the individual’s assignment. For example, Professor A has an assignment for a given semester to teach 9.0 contact hours (3 courses) and to provide advising, research and service for the remaining 3.0 contact hours of the required 12.0 contact hours required for a fully-funded FTE position. Professor A is released from one course but is expected to continue previously assigned advising, research and service. The contact hour equivalent of 3.0 contact hours equals a percentage of effort of 25% of the 100% effort assignment. Professor B has the same work assignment but is released from one course and any additional expectation of other departmental research or scholarly activity so the contact hour equivalent released is 4.0 contact hours to equal 33% effort of the 100% effort assignment. Whenever an appointment is made to a sponsored research activity, the faculty member’s work assignment should be made taking into account this consideration or amended if the commitment occurs after the work assignment is accepted.

Both release time and cost sharing of a faculty member’s effort are subject to reporting according to the appropriate contact hours through the Faculty Activity Report System (FARS) and should also be reported as the equivalent percentage of effort on the Personnel Activity Report System (PARS) forms (both forms were replaced by ACRES as of 5/7/08). The contact hours required generating a 1.0 FTE for a faculty member who has responsibilities related to the FTE generation of E&G funds and the percentage of the individual’s cost effort (prorated 100% effort) should be reconciled at the end of each semester by the submission of the ACRE report. For assistance in determining the appropriate contact hour or cost effort equivalents, contact the college budget managers or your RSP Grants Specialist.

Eligibility for Employment Background and E-verify Screening

All UWF candidates for employment require an employee background screening and some positions may require a more detailed screening before the employees may assume certain duties or access certain information or locations. Federal contracts and some state-funded grants and contracts require that potential employees be cleared through the federal E-Verify system prior to employment. E-Verify is an internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify screening requires that the I-9 Employment Eligibility documentation be completed and provided to Human Resources. Screening for background checks and E-Verify may take 3-5 days to complete. The Investigator should determine what will apply to personnel who may be hired and arrange for adequate time for the appropriate approvals to be completed prior to the appointment start date.

Employment of Relatives on Grants/Contracts

When faculty plan to employ a spouse, child or other close relative on government sponsored projects, the agency must be fully informed about the nature of the relationship and the qualifications which make the services particularly desirable. Furthermore, under UWF policy HR-15.00 Employee Code of Ethics (PDF), no such related person can be employed unless the president or president's designee has determined prior to the appointment that there is no conflict of interest (6C-5.945, Florida Administrative Code). When such appointments are approved, the Principal Investigator (PI) may not approve the appointment, evaluation, approval of compensation such as time sheets for the relative. In these cases, the next level unit supervisor (department chair or institute/center director) is considered the PI designee. The employment of relatives is allowed where there is no conflict of interest and no direct or indirect supervisory responsibility between relatives. Functions of positions must not overlap or require authorization, approval, appraisal, appointment, or validation of related parties. "Relatives" or "related" persons are those related to each other as husband, wife, parent, child, brother or sister. Faculty should also refer to the Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures for Conflict of Interest and, if applicable, any regulations or policies of individual sponsors.

Consultant/Contractual Services on Grants

Consultant payments on sponsored projects must represent compensation to individuals who are independent of the university and who render independent services. Consultant payments may not be made by faculty to colleagues where an employer/employee relationship exists. Rather, in these situations, colleagues should be compensated for services via the university personnel/payroll system according to percent effort of committed time or donate their services as part of their intra-institutional collaboration as a professional courtesy.

On the whole, it is expected that consulting needs can be satisfied from resources within the university community. When outside consulting services are needed for a grant or contract, all of these conditions must be met:

  1. There must be evidence that the services provided are essential and cannot be provided by persons receiving salary support under the sponsored project. 
  2. There must be evidence that a selection process was employed to secure the most qualified person available. 
  3. There must be evidence that the charge is appropriate considering the qualifications of the consultant, normal charges, and the nature of the services rendered.
  4. Federal programs limit the amount per hour/day/annum that may be charged as a consultant fee. The rate can be found on U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Information on Federal Pay and Leave web page under the "Salary Tables." Unless specifically allowed in the agency guidelines, compensation should be limited to the amount for Executive Schedule Level I. The annual cap would be prorated for a daily rate by dividing by 352 and an hourly rate by dividing by 2088. Total annual compensation from all sources should not exceed this salary cap for any individual.
  5. If an outside consultant is employed, the individual must be established in the UWF Procurement and Contracts system as a vendor. Refer to the guidelines for the requirements for a Consulting and Professional Services contract (see Procurement & Contracts). If the third party is not eligible to be established as a vendor through this method, a subaward or subcontract agreement must be entered into with the individual’s normal employer for services and related costs. Refer to Subcontracting/Subagreement Agreements.