Horizon Europe Timesheets – who and what?

Horizon Europe Timesheets – who and what?

Time tracking in Horizon Europe

 

 

Read the updates about the new Horizon Europe Annotated Grant Agreement (updates from April 2023)

"The all new Horizon Europe Annotated Grant Agreement out on Fool's Day  - are we fooled? "

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Timesheets are an essential part of your project implementation process in Horizon Europe. When you claim funds for your project, you must justify the expenditure and staff allocation. This step is crucial to demonstrate that your efforts and resources were properly and realistically allocated to implement the project activities.

Timesheets are vital documentation that the company/organisation must have to demonstrate the time spent by the employees on a specific project.

Filling in timesheets can often be a daunting task for the beneficiaries and their staff, so the European Commission is always trying to simplify this process. Well, in Horizon Europe, there is news on this.

Assigned to the action

You may remember that people need to be assigned to the action for their costs to become eligible. Horizon Europe Annotated Model Grant Agreement states that:

ONLY costs for personnel assigned to the action (i.e., working for the project according to internal written instructions, organisation chart or other documented management decision) can be eligible. The monthly declaration of days worked in the project correctly signed (see Article 20) or reliable time records will normally be sufficient proof of the assignment to the action — unless there is other contradicting evidence (e.g., the employment contract indicates that the person was hired to work on another project)”. 

  Time records

For persons who work for the action (regardless of them being full-time or part-time employees and/or if they work exclusively or not for the action; new for 2021-2027), the beneficiary may either: 

  1. use reliable time records (i.e., timesheets) either on paper or in a computer-based time recording system to record (at least) all the hours worked in the actionReliable time records must be dated and signed at least monthly by the person working for the action and their supervisor. If the time recording system is computer-based, the signatures may be electronic (i.e., linking the electronic identity data, e.g., a password and username, to the electronic validation data), with a documented and secure process for managing user rights and an auditable log of all electronic transactions. 

or

  1. sign a monthly declaration on days spent for the action (template). 

It is not clear what should happen if you already have a reliable, hourly-based time recording system used in your organisation (as you needed to have this in H2020). Can you decide to stop using it and turn to the simpler monthly declaration? We are still waiting for the official EC communication on this.  

The timesheets should ideally be a daily task in your administration pipeline. They should always be filled in by the person working on the action and approved by their supervisor.

What to include in your new timesheet as minimum information? 

  • The call identifier, acronym, and number of the action, as specified in the GA 
  • The beneficiary’s full name, as specified in the GA 
  • The year 
  • The full name of the person working for the action 
  • The number of days worked for the action monthly in the year covered by the time record 
  • The person’s full name and signature/month 
  • The supervisor’s full name and signature/month 
  • A reference to the work packages of Annex 1, to which the person has contributed by the reported working days. 

 

Table

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If want to continue using your existing time-recording system where you record your time in hours, you need to convert the productive hours into productive days. Three options are available that are also discussed in the AGA (Page 119 in the November 2021 version).  

Very important: The information that you include in the timesheets must match records of the annual leave, sick leave, other leaves, and work-related travel. 

Examples of possible alternative evidence for time spent on the project (non-exhaustive list): travel documents proving participation in a project meeting (boarding pass, obliterated travel ticket, hotel invoice, etc.); agenda and minutes of the meeting; attendance lists; working papers; laboratory logbooks; professional/personal diaries; documents related to presentations; scientific publications; correspondence such as letters, notes, memos, emails; etc.  

If your organisation is audited in the future, the auditors will use the following three criteria to assess how credible the alternative evidence is: 

1. Clear identification of the person concerned 

2. Clear link to the project under scrutiny 

3. Possibility to quantify time spent on project-related tasks. 

Alternative evidence will only be accepted if these three criteria are met. 

 

Good luck with your time recording!


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Gabriella Lovasz
In Horizon Europe you need to submit a Certificate of Financial Statement (audit report) when your (individual/partner level) total EU contribution exceeds 430.000 EUR. This is a limitation on partner level. Those partners will have to submit the CFS whose EU contribution exceeds this amount. They will have to submit the CFS at the end of the project for all costs reported to the European Commission.
Hamza Matni
Dear Gabriella, I see that there are different opinions on Internet regarding the audit rules. For example, i read that audits are mandatory in Horizon Europe for entities that receive more than 430.000€ of grant from the EU. Assuming this is true, does both the coordinator (head consortium) and the other partners need to to contact an auditor to get the CFS? Many thanks in advance BR, Hamza
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear Hamza, You do not need to register the sickness and vacation hours on the timesheet for the project. These hours are normally separately registered within HR. The timesheets need to include only the project hours - so working hours spent on the project. That said, please do not register hours on the days in the timesheets when you are sick or on holiday :) Gabriella
Hamza Matni
Dear Gabriella, Thank you for this very useful post. Is it true that sickness and vacation hours also need to be registered? or is it only the hours spent on the project? Thank you BR, Hamza
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear Oznur, The answer is not an easy yes and no. In principle any full-time or part-time employed resarcher can work on multiple H2020 projects. If the contract also allows him/her to do so. So organisational and national rules may be deciding how can a researcher in your organisation work on multiple projects. A question is if the salary is potentially coming from government sources specifically linked to one project. as you wrote the researcher is specifically funded full time by one project for any reason. Then the contract will stipulate full time on one project. So the researcher cannot work in normal hours in other projects as well. Contract modification and overtime allocation are issues to consider then.
O. Karakas
Hi Gabriella, Is it possible for an employee having a full-time job as a researcher in a university funded by a Horizon 2020 project also work for other Horizon 2020 projects simultaneously? And is it possible for a researcher with a full-time contract be funded by multiple Horizon 2020 projects at the same time?
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear Natalia, As you see in the post, the official template asks for at least the WP list. The monthly timesheet which is registering all productive hours for all projects is also asking for the WPs at least. That monthly sheet may have a section also on the bottom of it where you may describe in short what activities have been done in that month. The European Commission has the right to ask any time about the activities completed by any employee working on the project. And if they ask, you need to send a response, so it is useful to have any kind of reporting internally, which would help you to send the reply back on what actions have been done by the people reporting X no of person months on the project in question. In short - WP reference is needed always. Short description of tasks is useful.
Natalia Espanhol
Hi Gabriella, I was hoping you could help me with a last question: If we choose to only use the timesheet (hourly-based), do we still have to log project / work package / task descriptions or is the time logging sufficient? Thank you,
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear Natalia, read carefully the Annotated Grant Agreement for details. In short you can choose. You can select the monthly timesheet via the template the EC shared or you use your own timesheet system. You do not need both.
Natalia Espanhol
Hi Gabriella, thanks for answering my last question. I also have another one: If we are already doing the monthly declaration of days spent in the action described, do we also have to implement a timesheet? or can we keep only the montlhy delcaration?
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear Natalia, No need to upload or send anywhere. Just store internally. Best, Gabriella
Natalia Espanhol
Hi Gabriella, Besides storing it internally, should we upload the monthly declaration somewhere or send it to someone?
Gabriella Lovasz
Dear m andrera, There is no specific software that received such a stamp. Any electronic time recording system is fine that is complaint with your national legislation. These systems would fulfill also the EC regulations. Best, Gabriella
m andera
Dear Gabriella, thank you for this article. Do you know any time tracking software that is compliant with EC/Horizon regulations, to make manual timesheet input easier for employees? So instead of filling the timesheet everyday/month data would be downloaded from software to make the process automated? Thank you!
Gabriella Lovasz (EM)
Dear Galina, When you travel to a project meeting and participate on this meeting, this is also project related working time. The national legislation issue about half day and full day - the rules are not 100% clear. In Horizon Europe you shall declare days on the timesheet or declare hours in your time recording system and transfrom that into days for the personnel cost calculation when reporting. So, in case your timesheet shows the full day - regardless the national legislation rules, you shall report the full day also on the project.
Galina
Hello, Gabriela, is it allowed to declare travel days and the days of a partner meeting as work on the project in HE? What about if it is a half day of travel/meeting but in the organisation's records it is officially the whole day in line with the national legislation?
Gabriella Lovasz (EM)
Dear Sunn, I do not have an official update unfortunately.
Gabriella Lovasz (EM)
Dear Mauro, You could be the Supervisor indeed if internally in your organisation you were authorised to approve the timesheets. The Supervisor does not have to be the highest level staff member, it can be the team leader assigned/authorized to check and approve the timesheets of other staff members.
Sunn Heikes-Knapton
In this description, the following statement is made: It is not clear what should happen if you already have a reliable, hourly-based time recording system used in your organisation (as you needed to have this in H2020). Can you decide to stop using it and turn to the simpler monthly declaration? We are still waiting for the official EC communication on this. Have you received any communication from EC on this?
Mauro
Dear Gabriella, I'd like to know who is the Supervisor authorized to sign the Time Declaration? For example, in a GEOERA Project (H2020) I was the authorized person because I was the Coordinator of the internal staff (of ISPRA) involved into the EU Project and I signed the TImesheets.
Gabriella Lovasz (EM)
Hello Rudi, All affiliated entities need to have their own timesheets - for all people who worked on the project. The report of the affiliated entity is submitted together with the beneficiaries report to the Coordinator and then to the European Commission. Best, Gabriella
Rudi
There is a case that beneficiary has affiliate partner. How reporting in such a case looks like - does each one reports by its own or reporting is done just by beneficiary and includes also reporting of affiliate partner, who actually reports to beneficiary?
Gabriella Lovasz (EM)
Dear Jela, both electronic and paper signatures are accepted, but you need to have a policy on that - all need to follow the same or approve that you have a hybrid solution, but then the policy needs to describe that.
Jela
Dear Gabriella, does it matter whether the timesheets are signed digitally or on paper? When signing a PDF, your signature always looks the same. Thanks in advance
Gabriella
Dear Cristina, Yes, the HR manager can sign the timesheet as a superior if this is your normal practice. Normally the scientific superior is signing it. Best, Gabriella
Cristina
Hello, I would like to ask if the HR manager can sign the timesheets as a superior. Thanks,