Medical School Office of Research Guidance on Considering the Coverage of Research Salaries During COVID Pandemic

March 25, 2020

Updated as of 4/1/2020 – Updates to be Posted

As the "ramp down" of biomedical and clinical research operations has progressed, research faculty and staff have been seeking clarity regarding how work performed relates to salary charges to grants, faculty discretionary accounts, or how projects ultimately relate to the hours in the COVID-19 benefits bank or regular exception time. Medical School research leadership has compiled the information disseminated by campus offices into guidelines, an example and additional information.   This page will be continuously updated as institutional policies may change to reflect our work environment during the COVID-19 ramp down.

If there are questions about what may (or may not) qualify as activities on sponsored projects or allowability of costs, please review the UMOR and HR FAQ pages, reach out to Sponsored Programs, or contact the Medical School Grants Services & Analysis Office at

General Guidelines to Follow for Medical School Departments specifically related to No Available Work:  (additional guidance for other circumstances - such as illness or childcare – is available from the HR website)

  1. If an employee is currently paid on a grant and continues to be able to productively work on the grant remotely at the same level of effort, no change in payroll distribution is needed.  You may wish to review some examples of activities that may be assigned as potential work from a remote location.
  2. If an employee does not have enough work for the allocated time to the project, other work may be identified with the supervisor to fulfill the appointment hours.  Depending on the type of work being done, these hours may require a change in effort distribution / funding source in the HR system (PAR/DBE).  Activity should be reflected and may need to be charged to another grant, faculty funds or Departmental funds dependent on the activity performed and Department policy.
  3. Updated 4/1/2020:  If other work is not identified to fill appointed hours, the hours with “no work” assigned can be paid using the new EPSLA COVID Bank, then the U-M originally established COVID-19 benefits bank, and then replenish the COVID-19 benefit bank if any additional time is needed to reach April 30th.  As the described banks are a university benefit, these hours may be charged against a sponsored project at the same effort distribution work was assigned.  This bank of time only needs to be used when appointed hours are not met due to work not being available.  The bank may be used over an extended period of time, depending on the availability of other work.
  4. After 4/30/2020, exception time (PTO or short-term sick / sick from vacation) may be charged to the sponsored project as a university benefit – and used as appropriate to the employee’s situation.
  5. At the point the ELSPA, COVID-19 emergency bank and eligible exception time will be depleted, we advise that there are discussions with the unit to determine the current guidance from the university.   As of 3/25/2020, the university continues to evaluate the situation and review the state mandates relative to the use of both the emergency bank and standard exception time.  Further information will be provided as available.


*Definitions of time banks:

EPSLA Bank = Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides up to 80 hours of paid sick time from 4/1/2020 through 4/13/2020 (current end of the Michigan executive order)

COVID-19 = COVID-19 Emergency Bank provides up to 80 hours of paid time and may be replenished if additional time is needed through 4/30/2020.

As of 4/1/2020, the university is committed to evaluate the situation and provide updates if further instruction is needed into May.  Information will be provided as available.


These guidelines are consistent with the information on the following websites:

Campus HR: and
Michigan Medicine HR:


Research Technician, Full Time 40 hours per week with access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) bank, 80-hour COVID emergency bank (replenished through April 30th), 40 hours VAC, 80 hours Short-term Sick

 Note: For the example, it is assumed there was some use of the COVID-19 emergency bank in March, before advent of the EPSLA bank on 4/1/2020 in order to illustrate the change.  Otherwise, the EPSLA bank should be used first beginning 4/1/2020.  Currently, in May, the use of standard paid time off should follow standard University of Michigan guidelines.

Grants chart


Remember to complete requisite PAR / DBEs as necessary when moving employees to new activities.


Timekeeping codes:

REG is regular hours paid, each week represents where the 40 hours of salary was charged too. 

PEL is Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Bank of hours

RPN is remote pay not worked. 

SCK is short-term sick – Under a quarantine, short-term sick is an acceptable bucket, and can be used when the workplace is closed. See the Sick Time Pay SPG for additional information.

PAN is Pandemic and used by campus to see hours of impact.

*Final coding is best guided by the HR FAQ website.  Campus HR FAQHospital HR FAQ


HR Timekeeping








Clarification: Impact of the Office of Management & Budget, M-20-17 Memo dated March 19, 2020

This guidance is included in the instructions above.   OMB announced that:  Awarding agencies may allow recipients to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active Federal awards consistent with the recipients' policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, Federal and non-Federal.

As of 4/1/2020, the University of Michigan policy for paying salaries includes access to the EPSLA COVID bank and the COVID-19 emergency bank of time.   If there are changes / updates to the policy, departments will need to modify the application of hours in the example accordingly.

Use of Regular Paid Time Off

Both Medical School and Hospital employees are provided paid time off banks (PTO, sick, vacation) that may be used based on the individual employee’s situation.   Supervisors should work with the employee, in conjunction with HR descriptions, on the most appropriate codes to use when needed.

If there are questions about what may (or may not) qualify as activities on sponsored projects or allowability of costs, please review the UMOR and HR FAQ pages, reach out to Sponsored Programs, or contact the Medical School Grants Services & Analysis Office (