Salary Cap Updates for UCPath

A salary cap establishes a maximum annual rate of pay at which an individual's full time effort over a twelve-month period can be charged for a federal contract, grant, or cooperative agreement. The most notable salary cap that we adhere to at UCSF is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) salary cap which is tied to executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. This pay scale is followed by all DHHS agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Private foundations and organizations may also implement a salary cap. Many follow the DHHS cap while others set limits independently. Examples of non-federal sponsors with salary cap limits are California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Susan G. Komen, and the Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Not all sponsors place limits on salary support. Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), and many non-federal sponsors do not provide a threshold for annual salary. Therefore, it is important to understand the guidelines of each sponsoring agency when submitting a budget.


How to work with CGA to apply salary caps in RAS and UCPath

Three steps are required to authorize and apply a salary cap before it is available in UCPath for funding entries and salary cost transfers:

  1. The Research Administration System (RAS) is the system of record for defining a salary cap for each award. If you believe your award should follow a salary cap but the cap is not indicated in RAS:
    1. Email [email protected].
    2. Request that your CGA Service Team member add the appropriate cap.
    3. Provide appropriate documentation including sponsor policy of the cap.
  2. The Sponsor record in RAS must also indicate which salary cap is appropriate under that sponsor. Sponsors that follow the NIH cap are established with the HHS salary cap attribute. If there is a salary cap on your award and it is still not available for UCPath funding entry, the Sponsor record in RAS may need to be updated.
    1. Email [email protected].
    2. Request that CGA review the sponsor for the salary cap attribute.
    3. Provide appropriate documentation including sponsor policy of the cap.
  3. Finally, salary cap details must be loaded into UCPath, including the cap amount and effective dates. The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) manages the process of loading new cap details into UCPath.


Update: new salary cap for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has changed its salary cap policy effective June 1, 2020. NMSS will align its salary cap with the NIH cap going forward. This salary cap will be implemented in new application guidance and upon issuance of new awards after June 1. All existing awards will remain at the current salary cap of $199,700 for the remainder of the award.

Because an independent cap for NMSS exists in UCPath, the new cap must also be entered before it is available for funding entry. We cannot leverage the existing HHS cap because each sponsor can only have one salary cap attribute.

The new cap has been submitted to UCOP for processing. The campus will be notified once the cap is available in UCPath.


Update: new salary caps available in UCPath

A number of salary caps previously submitted by UCOP for approval and upload to UCPath are now available:

  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM): $284,000 (7/1/2020 – 6/30/2022)
  • Office of Personnel Management: Rates of Basic Pay for Members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) – Agencies without a Certified SES Performance Appraisal System: $181,500 (January 2020)
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI): $200,000