NIH Salary Cap Changes Effective January 5, 2020

On February 5, 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published updated information regarding the Fiscal Year 2020 salary limitation under NOT-OD-20-065. With the passing of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94) on December 20, 2019, NIH received the authority to incur obligations for FY2020. Consistent with prior years, the terms and conditions of the Appropriations Act restrict the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Office of Personnel Management recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 5, 2020, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $197,300.


The Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) implemented use of the new salary cap on January 10, 2020 for all new, renewal, supplement, or resubmission NIH proposals. To do so, eProposal was updated to include the new salary cap option: $197,300- FY2020 NIH Salary Cap 01/05/20-Forward.

As a reminder, please be sure to indicate in the budget justifications when personnel are over the salary cap.

Existing Awards


The new salary cap may be used for existing awards as described in the NIH Notices. If the increased salary cap is adopted on existing awards, you will be allowed to rebudget funds to accommodate the new cap; however, no additional funding will be provided by the sponsor.

Payroll Processing

Following our normal practice, UCSF will use an effective date of February 1, 2020 (the beginning of the first full calendar month after the effective date of the new cap) for payroll processing using the new salary cap. The Payroll System and Magical PAF Machine (MPM) have been updated to support this change.

Adjusting Payroll

To avoid the need for payroll adjustments, please submit funding changes prior to February payroll processing deadlines.

To update payroll funding either prospectively or retroactively, initiate a PeopleConnect ‘Funding Change’ request by attaching a faculty salary calculator (FSC) worksheet and submit to Human Resources, or submit the update via MPM. If the update is retroactive, HR will update the distributions prospectively and then make a request to the Payroll office to update the Distribution of Payroll Expense retroactively.

Please note that you cannot use the Uncapped-to-Capped Payroll Expense Transfer Uploader (U2C-PETU) to retroactively increase a capped pay rate that has already posted. This form can only be used when you are moving uncapped payroll onto a funding source that enforces a pay rate cap.

The new NIH salary cap is available in MPM and on the FSC worksheet as: $197,300- FY2020 NIH Salary Cap 01/05/20-Forward.


For questions regarding application of the new salary cap to proposals, email [email protected]. For questions regarding application of the new salary cap to existing awards, contact the CGA Compliance Service Desk.