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New TRAC guidance that applies from 2014-15 has now been published. This is hosted on the HEFCE web site on behalf of all funders. The current TRAC requirements continue to apply for TRAC reporting for the year ending 31 July 2014, but once the 2013-14 TRAC reporting is complete, the HEFCE web site will become the sole resource for TRAC as well as financial sustainability materials.

Part V - TRAC fEC

Section C: Estimating researcher costs

Standard working hours

  1. During the allocation of staff time and salaries, hours may need to be converted to FTEs, or salary costs to a rate per hour. Institutions should use the following definition of a standard working year for this purpose:

    1650 hours a year.

  2. This can be calculated a number of ways – most commonly it is described as 220 days a year, 37.5 hours a week, 44 weeks a year. Alternatively it can be expressed as 44.5 hours a week, 37 weeks a year.
  3. 1650 hours should be used when calculating and applying salary costs, indirect cost rates and estates rates. This is a fair and reasonable figure. It has been defined as a calendar year excluding weekends, statutory/institutional holidays, and holiday entitlement for that post. (It is time available for Teaching, Research, Other and Support.)
  4. This will mean that institutions will be under-charging some 5 - 15% of their academic salary costs, indirect costs and estates costs. This is because the 1650 hours only takes into account time off on bank holidays and an annual holiday entitlement. It does not allow time on sickness, paternity/maternity, jury service or private consultancy to be charged to projects, either as a direct cost or as a Support or indirect cost.
  5. Against this under-charge is set a potential over-charge or over-recovery of salaries. This could otherwise have occurred as PIs apply salary and indirect cost rates calculated on the assumption of a 37.5 hour week, when staff may be working more than 37.5 hours a week.
  6. This standard working year of 1650 hours is to be used even when staff are formally contracted for different hours (e.g. 44 hours a week for clinical posts, or 35 hours a week for academics).
  7. TRAC includes other measures to avoid over-charging – see Chapter C.4.
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