Staff costs

Staff costs must be related to the project activities and the responsibilities of the staff member concerned. Salary costs include salary payments and other costs directly linked to salary payments incurred and paid by the employer (such as employment taxes and social security including pensions) in line with the employment contract, work contract or other document. In the event of costs borne by the employer occurring from parental leave, those costs may be partly eligible according to national rules. As an example, national rules in Finland states that costs for parental leave is only eligible if there are no costs for a substitute filling up for the absence. National rules in Sweden, states for example that additional salary regarding parental leave paid by the employer could be an eligible cost in projects. And, of course, only costs that are not financed by other sources, may be eligible.

Payments to natural persons working for a project under a contract other than an employment or work contract may be assimilated to salary payments. Such a contract shall also be considered to be an employment document. Both the employment/work contract and an appointment decision /contract of natural persons working for the partner organisation and receiving salary payments are hereinafter referred to as ‘employment document’.

Staff costs can only be related to individuals who work on full-time or part time assignment with a fixed percentage for the project. Eligible staff costs are the gross employment costs actually incurred by a beneficiary, as registered in the accounts and proven by employment documents and payslips. There is no obligation to establish a separate working time registration system. Persons who work only a limited time in the project, such as field workers for 3 months during summer or someone who is employed for only one day or even only one meeting is seen as “full-time”.

Specific note, applicable from call 3: If you are planning to hire PhD students for the project you must clearly describe the role and relevance of the PhD student in the project. The programme will accept a maximum of 50 % as the fixed percentage for a PhD student. No educational/ teaching- activities will be financed. The same rules apply to partners in Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The fixed percentage methodology  – Staff cost for persons working part-time on the project
The fixed percentage should be stated in a task assignment document for each staff member. The task assignment template can be found on the webpage For project beneficiaries – Interreg Aurora. If the requirements in the template are already covered in the employment contract or another formal document there is no need to use the template. The document must contain the percentage of time dedicated to the project per month and a description of the project-related role, responsibilities and (monthly) tasks. The level of details for the tasks should be proportionate to the involvement. It is expected that for higher percentages of involvement, task descriptions are correspondingly detailed. While for little involvement a more general descriptions will be sufficient.The task assignment document is crucial for the fixed percentage methodology. It is the basis to prove the plausibility of the time allocation. No separate or individual working time registration (i.e., ‘timesheet’) is needed.

Determine for each concerned staff member a fixed percentage of time to be worked on the project per month. The percentage should be established in advance by making an average estimation for the whole project duration. 

The fixed percentage may be changed in justified cases (e.g changes in the tasks of the employee). Generally, there should be no more than one assignment per staff member per reporting period. 

The gross employment cost (incl. employer’s contributions and other compulsory payments) shall be calculated and reported in line with the fixed percentage.

Examples of supporting documents for the verification of expenditure
Salary costs shall be verified by an employment document while employment taxes and social security including pensions may also be verified by law and standard practices in the country or the organisation where the individual staff member is actually working, and which is not recoverable by the employer from other sources.

  • employment document or any other equivalent legal agreement that permits the identification of the employment relationship with the partner’s organisation;
  • job description (providing information on responsibilities related to the project (if not included in the employment document);
  • task assignment document setting out the fixed percentage of time to be worked on the project per month (if not specified in the employment document or job description);
  • payslips or other documents of equivalent probative value;
  • proof of payment of salaries and the employer’s contribution;

Programme manual