Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2021
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

January 29, 2021

Related Announcements

NOT-OD-21-056 - Notice of Legislative Mandates in Effect for FY 2021

NOT-OD-21-058 - Notice of Fiscal Policies in Effect for FY 2021

NOT-OD-21-049 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2021

NOT-OD-22-076 - Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Issued by



This Notice provides information regarding the salary limitation for NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards.

Since 1990, Congress has legislatively mandated a limitation on direct salary for individuals under NIH awards. The mandate appears in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), signed into law on December 27, 2020, which provides authority for NIH to incur obligations for Fiscal Year 2021.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Office of Personnel Management recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 3, 2021, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $199,300.

For issued awards that were restricted to Executive Level II (see historical record of salary cap link below), including competing awards already issued in FY2021, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, recipients 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.

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