Oregon State University

401: Payroll

Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 400: Expenditures
Effective: 01/01/2003
Revised: 12/27/2012

  • 401-01 Unclassified Employees
  • 401-02 Classified Staff
  • 401-03 Student Employees
  • 401-04 Graduate Research Assistants/Graduate Teaching Assistants
  • 401-05 Postdoctoral Scholars and Clinical Fellows
  • 401-06 Overpayments
  • 401-07 Vacation and Sick Leave Accrual
  • 401-08 Compensated Absences
  • 401-09 Personal Activity Report Forms (PAR)

401-01 Unclassified Employees

Unclassified employees include Professorial Faculty, Research Associates, Senior Instructors, Instructors, Senior Faculty Research Assistants, Faculty Research Assistants, and appointments to a professional title without rank.

See Section 400: Payment of Unclassified Employees in the Payroll (PAY) Manual for a definition of appointment types, methods of payments, forms, summer session appointments, academic wage appointments, earnings and account codes, overload pay, and graduate assistant appointments.

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401-02 Classified Staff

Definitions and information about classified and temporary classified employee employment types and employee registration instructions can be found in the EBook 

located on the Human Resources website and under PAY 500: Payment of Classified and Temporary Employees.  

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401-03 Student Employees

A Student employee is an individual whose primary effort is directed toward receiving a formal education and whose work effort is part-time and secondary in nature.  A student employee may be enrolled in either a secondary or a post-secondary institution. See Section 200: Payment of Student Employees in the Payroll (PAY) Manual for information on the payment of regular student wages, Federal College Work-Study Program (FCWSP) funds and non-system student wages.

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401-04 Graduate Research Assistants/Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate Research Assistants and Graduate Teaching Assistants can be appointed to work between .2 FTE and .49 FTE.  These appointments consist of a salary and relief of the instructional portion of tuition and fees at .2 FTE and above.  The differential between resident graduate tuition and nonresidential graduate tuition is waived by the University.  The residential graduate tuition is credited to the student’s account and charged to the index that pays the GRA/GTA salary, unless the index is associated with a sponsored agreement where the sponsor does not authorize this cost in their policy.

Recommended salary levels are available from the Graduate School.  See Definitions section, Payroll Handbook, and Graduate School website for further information about these appointments.

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401-05 Postdoctoral Scholars and Clinical Fellows

Postdoctoral scholars are employees/trainees who receive salaries funded by research grants or other university funds and work under the supervision of a principal investigator who is an Oregon State University faculty member.  These scholars and fellows do not receive tuition remission and are not represented by the Graduate Employee Union. They are eligible for medical benefits through the Graduate Employee Union’s health plan. See the Graduate School website for further information.

Appointments are based upon the postdoctoral scholar's research credentials and availability of funds. Appointments should be full-time unless exceptional circumstances require a lower appointment level. Appointments below 0.5 FTE are not permitted. When appointing a postdoctoral scholar at less than full time, the faculty mentor and the postdoctoral scholar must clearly articulate the impact of the lower appointment level on expectations for research and training.

There are also Postdoctoral fellows who are not paid employees of OSU.  They are trainees who are funded by portable fellowships awarded by entities external to Oregon State University.   Because postdoctoral fellows are not considered Oregon State University employees, they are not entered into the University's payroll system nor paid as employees. Instead, their funding is managed by the Office of Post Award Administration via Accounts Payable.

401-06  Overpayments

Overpayment to an employee may occur due to various errors caused by incorrect data, data entry or late paperwork..  All overpayments must be reported by the Business Centers completing an Overpayment Notice.  These notifications are sent to Central Payroll for processing. See PAY 701-01: Overpayments and Collections in the Payroll (PAY) Manual for specific information.

If the employee is still working for OSU and has regularly scheduled pay, the overpayment may be deducted from the employee’s future pay. If the employee is no longer working at OSU, a letter will be sent requesting payment. Note: Overpayments to classified employees will be collected in accordance with the SEIU contract.

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401-07 Vacation and Sick Leave Accrual

See Human Resources website

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401-08 Compensated Absences

The value of employee vacation and compensatory time that has not been taken as of June 30 of each fiscal year is considered compensated absences.  As part of the annual closing of the books process, the university accrues the year-end amount of compensated absences as a liability in the financial records.  This liability does not include sick leave. 

The value of employee vacation time and compensatory time that has been earned, but not yet taken, will accrue as a liability of the University.  The liability is determined on the maximum allowable balance.  The amount is calculated each year end based on vacation hours balance as of May 31, and adjusted for an estimate of June usage.  Any compensatory time is added to that figure.  The dollar amount of the liability is determined for each individual employee by taking the time x salary rate + OPE/fringe benefits (PERS, FICA, Unemployment).  The calculations are made by the Oregon University System Controller’s Division per 05.321 Compensated Absences Accounting Policy and confirmed by OSU.

The liability is distributed to the Auxiliaries, Service Centers and Statewide organizations.  The liability for all other employees is booked against the general fund.  The year-end entry is:

  • Liability for Compensated Absences (+/-)
  • Compensated Absences Expense (+/-)

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401-09 Personal Activity Report Forms (PAR)

PAR forms provide documentation of time and effort expended by OSU employees paid on Grants and Contracts.  The forms are processed quarterly through the Office of Post Award Administration. 

There are times when department personnel decide that an error was made in the quarterly report and that the amount of payroll charged against the grant was in error.  A redistribution of labor charges can be made using a Labor Distribution Form found on the OSCAR website.  If a redistribution of labor is done, then the PAR form for that quarter must also be revised to correctly reflect the amount of effort expended on the grant or contract.  The amount paid and the effort expended must match.

See the Grant, Contract and Gift Accounting Policy and Procedure Manual for additional information.

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