Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2020

Notice Number: NOT-OD-20-065

Key Dates
Release Date: February 05, 2020

Related Announcements
NOT-OD-21-009 - NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution

Issued by
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)


Since 1990, Congress has legislatively mandated a limitation on direct salary for individuals under NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards (referred to here as a grant). The mandate appears in The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94), signed into law on December 20, 2019, which provides authority for NIH to incur obligations for FY 2020.

The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Office of Personnel Management has recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 5, 2020, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $197,300.

For awards issued in those years that were restricted to Executive Level II (see historical record of salary cap link below), including competing awards already issued in FY2020, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may rebudget funds to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level.

For a historical record of the salary cap, including effective dates, see:


Please direct all inquiries to:

Questions about specific awards may be directed to the Grants Management Specialist identified on the Notice of Award.