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.  

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.

Examples of calculations:

The total monthly salary costs (gross salary and e social contributions) for 100% is as an example EUR 5 000.

A) Eligible cost for a full-time assignment is EUR 5 000

B) Eligible cost for a part time assignment with a fixed percentage of 60% is EUR 3 000 (i.e 5 000 * 60%)

The fixed percentage should as a main principle cover the whole project duration. However, provided it is justified due to changes in tasks or responsibilities of the employee, the percentage of working time on the project may change. The fixed percentage should be established in advance, when a person is starting to work in the project.

Fixed percentage – Staff cost calculation for persons working part-time on the project
The following rules have to be observed:

  • To determine for each concerned staff member a fixed percentage of time to be worked on the project per month; in line with this fixed percentage the gross employment cost (incl. employer’s contributions and other compulsory payments) will be calculated and reported.
  • To fill in the task assignment template (if the requirements in the template are not covered in the employment contract or another formal document). The task assignment template can be found on the webpage For project beneficiaries – Interreg Aurora
  • No separate or individual working time registration (i.e., ‘timesheet’) is needed.

Points of attention
The task assignment document is crucial for the fixed percentage methodology. It is the basis to prove the plausibility of the time allocation:

  • It is issued for one staff member (not a group) per project.
  • It is usually issued at the beginning of the (reporting) period to which it applies.
  • It 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 time allocation (fixed percentage) and description of tasks could be reviewed on a regular basis (e.g., annual staff appraisal) and adjusted if needed (e.g., due to changes in tasks and responsibilities in the project). Should the percentage change, the respective amendments should be introduced to the task assignment document (if a separate document) or employment contract (if part of it).

Applying the fixed percentage method for staff does not require to have a dedicated time recording system (i.e., ‘timesheets) at the level of the individual staff member or the organisation.

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);
  • 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;