The salaries of administrative and clerical personnel are normally treated as an indirect cost unless they meet the definition of “unlike purpose and circumstance” and are integral to the project. As stipulated in the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) and the Office of Management and Budget Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR 200, (Uniform Guidance), direct charging of administrative salaries is allowable when all of the following conditions are met:
- Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity;
- Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
- Such expenses are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the federal awarding agency; and
- The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
If administrative salaries are to be charged to a federal award, the budget justification must include a detailed explanation of the role of the administrator as it relates specifically to the aims of the project and may not include general administrative support.