August 21, 1989
A. Retroactive Personnel Action Recommendation
A Retroactive Personnel Action Recommendation (PAR) is initiated to correct an employee's salary distribution (after some salary has been paid). Retroactive PAR's should only occur in rare instances. Therefore, extreme care must be exercised during the initial review and processing of payroll vouchers. Payroll vouchers should never be certified correct on the wrong account with the expectation of changing it later.
If it is necessary to process a retroactive PAR, a descriptive explanation on the PAR or accompanying it must justify why the error occurred and what steps are being taken to avoid future errors of the same type. Explanations such as "to correct error" or "to transfer to correct account" are not adequate.
A retroactive PAR must be completely processed within 120 days from the beginning date of the incorrect salary distribution. The 120 day period begins with the beginning date of the salary transfer as shown on the correcting PAR and ends when the PAR is fully processed in the University accounting system. A PAR started into the process more than 90 days after the beginning date of the incorrect salary distribution must also explain the lateness of the PAR and will require approval of the University Director of Payroll.
B. Personnel Activity Report/retroactive Personnel Action
Because of Federal accounting requirements for effort reporting under OMB Circular A-21, Personnel Activity Reports are generated at the following reporting periods:
The processing of a retroactive PAR to change a salary charge requires coordination with the Personnel Activity Report as follows:
1. Correction during reporting period
If the charging of a salary is determined to be in error before the Personnel Activity Report is issued for that period, a retroactive PAR should be processed with an appropriate justification as explained in Section A above. For example: if it is discovered during the second month of a semester that a faculty member's salary is being distributed improperly for the semester, a retroactive PAR should be processed to correct the salary charges. At the end of the semester the Personnel Activity Report will be issued with the corrected distribution and no further action is necessary.
2. Correction at the end of reporting period
If the charging of a salary is determined to be in error when the Personnel Activity Report is issued, the Personnel Activity Report should be changed to reflect the proper salary distribution. No explanation is required for the correction. A retroactive PAR is not required to correct the salary charges for that period. The salary charges will be corrected by processing the Personnel Activity Report. However, if the change in effort will be effective for the next Personnel Activity Report period, a PAR should be processed correcting the future salary charges.
3. Correction after processing Personnel Activity Report
If the charging of a salary is determined to be in error after the Personnel Activity Report has been signed and returned for processing, a revised Personnel Activity report, should be processed which reflects the proper salary charges. It must be accompanied by the explanations required in Section A above and an explanation as to why the Personnel Activity Report was originally processed with the incorrect effort distribution. The correction in this situation will require the approval of the Director of Contract and Grant Administration and should occur only in rare circumstances.
C. Signing of Personnel Activity Reports
Current federal requirements in OMB Circular A-21 dated July 23, 1982 state that the form will be signed by the employee, principal investigator, or responsible official(s) using suitable means of verification that the work was performed.
Following are some guidelines on who should be signing forms:
- Forms for professorial personnel must be signed by a professorial person meeting the above requirements.
- Forms for administrative and clerical personnel must be signed by an administrative or professorial person meeting the above requirements.
- Signing someone else's name or signing "by" or "for" another person is not permitted.
- Signatures of administrative assistants and clerical personnel not in a supervisory position are not permitted except for their own personal form.