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Employee Effort Certification

Employee Effort Certification Transcript

Today we’re going to look at the HHRI Employee Effort Certification process.  Have you ever had to track your time in previous positions?  I remember my very first job at Dairy Queen—we literally had to punch in and out on a timeclock!  Now, things are a little bit different.

HHRI employees have two means of tracking time: one is filling in your timesheet in Dayforce.  This tracks your total hours worked, as well as your vacation and sick time.  For more on Dayforce, please visit the HR portal on HHRI’s website.

We also have the HHRI employee effort certification form.  This is how accounting knows which projects you’ve worked on and which projects will cover the costs for your time.  This video will explore how to fill in the certification form.

So why do we certify our effort spent?  Believe me; we don’t love more paperwork.  It’s actually a requirement of the federal government to report all expenses on federal projects.  Half of the funding that comes through HHRI is from the government which means we must follow federal guidelines and cost principles.  And since we must be consistent across all projects, federal or otherwise, all employees need to fill out an effort certification form twice a month.  This also means you get paid twice a month for a total of 24 times in a year.

Effort forms are also how HHRI keeps track of what projects you’ve been working on.  Each project, be it a grant, contract, or internal funding, has an HHRI project number.  Effort certification forms let accounting know where you have been spending your time and therefore which projects are contributing to your paycheck.

Your first form of the month will cover the period from the 1st to the 15th of that month; and the second will cover the period starting the 16th and ending the last day.  Certification forms should be completed the day immediately AFTER the time period, so on the 16th for the first period and the 1st day of the following month for the second period.

Signing your effort forms is incredibly important.  Missing signatures from you or your supervisor could mean a delay in getting paid.  And incorrect effort or project information leads to the wrong amount or project being charged.  This is corrected by either payment from the correct project, or if it is no longer available, repayment by the employee.  You need to sign them as a personal guarantee that the information provided is accurate, true, and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Then, give the form to your supervisor.  They sign it which serves as their certification that the information provided by you is accurate, true, and correct to the best of their knowledge.  If your supervisor is completely unavailable, then contact your Grant Administrator.  Failure to get a signature could result in, what’s called in audit language, a “finding” during our annual institutional audit. A finding can lead to the project you’re working on being shut down, the funds for it having to be returned, and difficulties getting future awards and projects.

Here’s an example effort certification form.  These need to be filled out by all employees, regardless of how many hours they do or do not work during a pay period.  In box one, choose the current year and pay period.  In box two, enter your name and contact information.

Box three, asks for your effort assignment: what projects did you work on during this time period?  You can see in this example that Zelda did some pretty heavy work (40%) on the research project “Keeping up with best practices in the field”.  No matter how many hours you work, you must account for 100% of your time during the pay period.

Box four is the certification all federal projects require.

All that’s left for Zelda is to sign in box five and ask her supervisor to review and sign.  Depending on how your department operates, either you or your supervisor will then send it to HHRI grant accounting.  This can be done via interoffice mail, dropped off at Parkside 7, or scanned and emailed to Efforts Forms

Even if you are sick or on vacation, accounting will need an effort form.  A copy of the previous form with updated dates is acceptable in this situation.

Effort Certification forms may not be as innovative as the research you are doing, but they are necessary.  Once they are submitted to accounting, they become part of HHRI’s institutional record.  This means these forms are official documents and reviewed at audit time for accuracy and consistency.  Making sure you sign an accurate and complete form is incredibly important, not just so you get paid, but to ensure appropriate spending on projects.  That’s why it’s important to be correct and clear on your effort certification.

For more information, visit the researcher resources section of the HHRI website.  There you can rewatch this video and find others about various HHRI processes.

Have questions?  Feel free to email us at  Thanks for watching and have a good day.

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