European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations

Personnel costs

Refundable personnel costs of Horizon 2020 projects, have to include all mandatory social security contributions, as well as further variable salary components, as required by national law or the employment contract. Only the hours actually worked for the project are eligible for reimbursement and have to be documented by a time-recording system. As a general rule "timesheets" should be used for this purpose. The provisions for the time-recording method are explained in art. 18 of the Grant Agreement. For researches which work 100% of their time for a single EU-project there is no need for time-recording if the employer confirms their full-time engagement.

The hourly rate for personnel costs is calculated by dividing the actual personnel costs by the number of productive hours (see Model Grant Agreement art. 6 A.1).

The annual productive hours can be determined in three different ways:

  • the standard amount of  annual productive hours, as stated by the Commission (1720 hours / year)
  • if this is fixed by national law, the employment- or labour agreement: annual working hours of the employed person, plus overtime, minus the absence periods (e.g. in case of sickness or special leave)
  • the standard amount of the annual working hours according to the usual accounting practice of the grant beneficiary, if this amount is clearly fixed by written rules.

The number of hours has to amount to at least 90% of the standard annual workable hours (as per national/ employment/ labour regulation). The number of days spent in parental leave may be subtracted from the amount of the annual productive hours.

Alternatively, beneficiaries may chose to calculate personnel costs on a monthly basis. In this case they may use either  one twelfth of the standard number of 1720 productive hours or one twelfth of the standard amount according to their institution's usual accounting practice (option 3 above). When using the monthly calculation method, parental leave may not be subtracted from the productive hours. However, personnel costs incurred during parental leave may be claimed in proportion to the time the employee worked for the project.

Personnel costs may also be requested on the basis of unit costs. Therefore, either the fixed rates in Annex 2a GA can be used, or the grant beneficiary calculates the unit costs according to the accounting system of his institution. In this case, the conditions stated in the Rules for Participation (art. 27.2) and in the Grant Agreement (art. 6) have to be fulfilled.

Personnel costs of the MSCA are calculated on the basis of unit costs and flat rates fixed by the European Commission.
Just like at the end of the Seventh Framework Programme, the possibility to bill personnel costs according to the flat rates of Annex 2 GA remains for SME-owners and persons without a salary.

For non-profit organisations, estra payments to the personnel costs of up to EUR 8,000 per year and full-time employee are eligible if:

  • this is the usual practice of the institution, and appropriate extra payments are paid to all positions where comparable work is done or where comparable qualifications are required
  • the amount of the bonus has been determined by an objective calculation method that is used for all sources of funding (and not only for EU-projects).