Wednesday, 28 February 2018

#H2020 Travel time: eligible or not eligible?

A common question especially from those new to H2020 funding is whether the time spent beyond normal working hours travelling to meetings is an eligible cost. The answer is surprisingly complicated, as shown in the flow chart below.

The simplest case is if the researcher is not filling time records but instead uses the exclusive declaration. No time recording of the extra hours is required, but if extra payments are made for the additional hours, these are eligible costs.  

Next simplest are those working for an organisation with a flexible working policy. The extra hours spent travelling will later be balanced by an equal number of hours of additional holiday. The cost of travel time is eligible for H2020 funding.

If travel time cannot be balanced by additional holiday, then another possibility is that the organisation pays overtime. If it does not pay overtime, then the organisation is not incurring any cost for the extra hours, so there are no costs to claim.

If the organisation does pay overtime, then the costs are eligible, though calculating them depends on their method for calculating productive hours. Those using option 1 (1720 hours per year) or 3 (standard) will increase the cost of the person but not their productive hours, according to the EC. So the hourly cost will increase as well as the hours worked, with the result that eligible costs are greater than real costs. The eligible costs will only be capped if the overtime exceeds the time spent working on non-H2020 activities.

Option 2 – individual productive hours –is less complicated: the hourly rate adjusts for both overtime hours and overtime payments, so the real overtime cost will be eligible.

None of the paid overtime scenarios described above takes account of reimbursement based on last completed financial year. But that’s another story!

Kind regards