Salary Escalation


Principal Investigators (PIs) should build their budgets using the actual salaries of personnel involved in the project. Rutgers has a contractually mandated salary increase for aligned employees. It is Rutgers’ practice to provide the same salary increase to non-aligned employees. Thus, the same contractually mandated salary increase should be used for both aligned (employees whose positions are covered by a collective negotiations agreement) and non-aligned employees (faculty and staff whose positions are not represented by a labor union and whose terms of employment are not governed by a collective negotiation agreement) and be reflected in the proposal budget and described in the proposal budget justification section.

Some sponsors, such as many National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers, will prohibit salary escalations for cost-of-living adjustments  that are estimated inflationary adjustments (see NOT-OD-12-036). These sponsors may not award the funding to cover these salary increases and will remove it from the proposed budget upon award. In these cases, upon award, PI’s may re-budget between approved costs categories to cover future raises. To clarify if a Sponsor allows salary escalation in future years, please refer to their respective funding opportunity announcement, the restrictions specified by the particular Sponsor in their proposal guidance documents, or consult with your RSP Grant Specialist. 

Some sponsors, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in particular, limit the amount of salary for an individual that can be requested in a proposal (also known as a “salary cap”) due to a legislative mandated provision for the limitation of salary costs. For proposals to sponsors that impose a cap, the salary limit is used to calculate the amount of salary that must be included in a proposal budget (and charged on the award) based on the percentage of effort an individual expects to devote to the project (see NOT-OD-24-057 and Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 - Present) | Please note that the current allowable FY24 NIH salary cap is $221,900, which corresponds to 100% effort over a period of 12 months. The applicable salary cap takes effect on the Project Start Date for new and competing awards (the NIH defines a competitive award as a type of grant funding that is awarded through a competitive application process) and the Budget Start Date for non-competing awards (the NIH defines a non-competitive award as a continuation request or award for a subsequent budget period within a previously approved project).