Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Effort Certification

Directions for Accessing effort certification

Certify Effort in Workday

  • Log into Workday.
  • Open the Workday Inbox in the top right-hand corner.
    1. From the Inbox, locate “Effort Certification” items awaiting action.
      1. Helpful Note: Note: PIs will see an Effort Certification item in their Inbox for every individual whose effort needs certified.
    2. Open the action item and click the arrow next to Details to review the report header. Confirm the worker’s name and Effort date range.
    3. Review the effort percentages on each grant for the full period, under the Summary tab.
      1. If the effort levels appear incorrect, the employee or PI should contact their unit’s finance team or the grant manager to make a correction to their funding via Payroll Accounting Adjustment.
    4. Details tab shows additional information such as the Certified Amount and Percentages for the specific period.
    5. DO NOT use the Change Effort If changes are needed, contact the unit’s finance team or the grant manager to make a correction to the funding.
  • Click the Submit button. The following page will show a successful submission message and the name of anyone else who is “Up Next” to act on the item.

Important Information

  • Effort must be certified for all individuals who, during the subject term, receive some portion of their compensation from, or who contribute effort to, a sponsored project. At the end of each month and each semester, OSP runs the Effort Certification process in Workday which sends out inbox actions for employees and PIs to certify effort.   Effort is certified 3 times per year: Fall semester, Spring semester, Summer semester.
  • Any employee who meets the criteria above is responsible for certifying their effort in Workday. Individuals are required to certify 100% of their compensated effort.
  • For a subset of populations (bi-weekly paid employees, Post-Doctoral Scholars, and Graduate Students) contributing effort to sponsored projects, a Principal Investigator (PI) will be tasked with certifying effort in Workday on their behalf. PIs will receive one inbox action item for each individual and must certify each separately.
    • If any of these individuals work on multiple OSP grants in a given term, all associated PIs will receive inbox actions to certify the effort. PIs should discuss with each other so that the PI who does certify the effort has appropriate firsthand knowledge before certifying.
  • Faculty members must account not only for their sponsored research and training effort (whether sponsor paid or cost shared), but also their instruction effort (including non-sponsored personal research, scholarship, and artistic endeavors as well as classroom teaching) and their service to the university on committees, etc.
  • Faculty members with patient care responsibilities must account for the clinical effort that is part of their university appointment.
  • Acknowledge that you have read the information about the effort certification process and your responsibilities as a certifier by clicking the Accept button at the bottom of the user Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whose effort needs to be certified?
Effort has to be certified for all individuals who, during the subject semester, receive some portion of their compensation from, or who contribute effort to, a sponsored project.

What effort needs to be certified?
A key concept is that hours are not certified, effort is.

  • 100% effort encompasses the total amount of time spent by a faculty or staff member to perform all of the activities required by his or her job with the university.
  • Effort is not based on a 40-hour week.

Individuals are required to certify 100% of their compensated effort.

  • Faculty members must account not only for their sponsored research and training effort (whether sponsor paid or cost shared), but also their instruction effort (including non-sponsored personal research, scholarship, and artistic endeavors as well as classroom teaching) and their service to the university on committees, etc.
  • Faculty members with patient care responsibilities must account for the clinical effort that is part of their university appointment.
  • Typically, graduate assistants have only 50% appointments.  However, that 50% appointment constitutes their entire “job” with the university and therefore represents 100% of their compensated effort.  Hence, their effort reports will show 100%.

What is the overall effort certification process?
In a proposal a specific level of effort is offered, an award is made with the expectation that the offered level of effort will be delivered, and a project is set up in the university accounting system.  The PI initiates personnel appointments on the project, and payroll costs are distributed based on these appointments.  Effort reports are generated from payroll information, and investigators are asked to certify that the effort reports reasonably represent how effort was actually expended.

How can I certify something as nebulous as “effort”?
While the effort certification process suggests a high degree of precision, there is an acknowledgement that this is not usually the case and that the process is based on estimates.  The federal regulation states:

“It is recognized that, in an academic setting, teaching, research, service, and administration are often inextricably intermingled.  A precise assessment of factors that contribute to costs is not always feasible, nor is it expected.  Reliance, therefore, is placed on estimates in which a degree of tolerance is appropriate.”