Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment Agreement Guidance

The Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program allows temporary work assignment of employees between UM and federal agencies by executing an IPA Assignment Agreement. The employee on assignment remains an employee of and continues to be paid by their respective employer for the duration of the time they are on the temporary work assignment. Reimbursement for employee expenses are negotiated between the two parties but at a minimum typically include salary and fringe benefits. For more information about the IPA program you may refer to the government website at OPM.gov or Title 5 Part 334: Code of Federal Regulations [5 CFR 334]: Temporary Assignments Under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA).

IPA Assignment Agreement Types and Institutional Signing Authorities

Assignment Agreement Types: IPA or ‘Reverse’ IPA?
Although the same agreement form is used for mobility assignment of federal and non-federal (UM) employees, university employees on assignment to a federal agency are generally referred to as being ‘on an IPA’ whereas federal employees working for the university are ‘on a Reverse IPA’.

Institutional Signing Authorities for Assignment Agreements
The type of assignment, IPA or Reverse IPA, determines which central office at UM has signing authority and is responsible for executing the agreement. ORSP has IPA signing authority for UM employees working for a federal agency. Procurement Services has ‘Reverse IPA’ signing authority for federal employees working for UM. Faculty and staff are not authorized to sign IPA or Reverse IPA agreements on behalf of the university.

Agreement Signing Authority Employee Type of Assignment
IPA ORSP UM Employee On detail TO a Federal Agency
Reverse IPA Procurement Services Federal Employee On detail FROM a Federal Agency


CLICK HERE for the UM Standard Practice Guide for Federal Intergovernmental Personnel Agreements.

Arranging an IPA Assignment Agreement (New Agreement or Extension)

Regulations require that IPA Assignment Agreements must be implemented by a written agreement and agreed to by the employee. To be eligible for assignment a UM employee must be employed for at least 90 days in a permanent career position before entering into an agreement. Students and temporary employees are not eligible to enter into IPA agreements. An employee who has served for 4 continuous years on a single assignment may not be sent on another assignment without at least a 12 month return to their regular position. Assignments without a break of at least 60 calendar days are regarded as continuous service.

The following are required to arrange an IPA Assignment Agreement for a university employee:

IPA Assignment Agreement Form

UM is responsible for completing Assignment Agreement Forms for university employees on assignment to federal agencies. Federal agencies have their own Assignment Agreements Forms. The form for the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System, the federal agency UM most frequently executes agreements with, can be  found here.

Helpful tips for completing the form:

  • Do not include any social security information for the employee on the agreement form.
  • Standard Language for representing salary & fringe Federal Agency Obligation on Assignment Agreements: The (federal entity) will reimburse UM (xx)% of salary and a fringe rate of (employee fringe rate)% of salary. Example: The VA will reimburse UM 100% of salary and a fringe rate of 25.5% of salary.
  • Standard Language for State or Local Government Agency Obligations: The University of Michigan will disburse salary and fringe benefits according to state regulations and make all required contributions and withhold all deductions. The University will invoice quarterly as follows:
    • Oct, Nov, Dec Bill Jan
      Jan, Feb, Mar Bill Apr
      Apr, May, Jun Bill July
      July, Aug, Sept Bill Oct

      Include the name and phone # of person completing the form.

  • The employee must sign to indicate agreement to the assignment

PAF (eResearch Proposal Management)

The Medical School reviews and provides Dean’s (School) and institutional (ORSP) approvals for IPAs executed with the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System. For all other federal agencies ORSP provides institutional approval. Refer to the steps below for eRPM PAF processing information. Be aware federal agencies review Assignment Agreements for appropriateness, completeness, and accuracy before assigning the agreement to their approval workflow for signature & return to the university so allow a minimum of eight to ten weeks for processing.
Questions may be directed to msgrants@umich.edu

Helpful tips to Create a PAF in eRPM

  • List the appropriate ORSP Project Representative as LISTED HERE for Government Sponsor and your unit
  • The title should indicate ‘IPA Agreement’ and the employees first and last name
  • The Proposal Type/Class Code type is 31000
  • In Key Terms list: IPA, Employee Name, Ann Arbor VA (or other federal agency)
  • Project Period: IPA Agreements are executed on the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) which begins Oct 1 and ends Sept 30
  • IDC: IPA Agreements typically have 0% indirect cost
  • For modifications and extensions be sure to include the related AWD number on the PAF

Add the PAF number to the upper right hand corner of the IPA Assignment Agreement, make sure the employee has signed, and upload the agreement to the PAF.

Route the PAF for review and approvals as normal. For Ann Arbor VA: Once PAF Approvals are received and the PAF status reflects Project Team Submission to Sponsor, send the IPA agreement to the VA (please note the IPA agreement MUST be signed by the employee prior to sending) and complete the eRPM Activity:  Log Project Team Submission to Sponsor documenting the IPA assignment agreement has been submitted to the VA.

For all other federal agencies: ORSP standard submission guidelines apply.

Ann Arbor VA HSRD IPA Contact Info
Theresa.Spencer2@va.gov
Michael.Robertson6@va.gov

Ann Arbor VA Research Service IPA Contact Info
Eric.Owens@va.gov & Jessica.Bryant5@va.gov

The federal agency reviews, signs and returns the partially executed agreement. In addition to signing, the Ann Arbor VA documents their Purchase Order in the upper left of the agreement prior to submitting the agreement to ORSP for countersignature. Upon receipt of a signed agreement ORSP countersigns and sends a copy of the fully signed agreement to the federal agency and issues a Project Award Notice.

Helpful Hint: If the federal agency returns a signed agreement to the Project Team rather than ORSP, use the eRPM PAF activity: ‘Request ORSP Action’ to upload the signed agreement and request UM signature and ORSP Staff will process the agreement. For Ann Arbor VA agreements make sure the purchase order number is included on the agreement before submitting the document to ORSP.

VA WOC (Without Compensation) Appointment

University employees on IPA Assignment Agreement to the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System are required to have a VA WOC Appointment in addition to the IPA assignment agreement. Information on the WOC applicant process can be found here.

Managing IPA Assignment Agreement

UM is responsible for regular review and management of all IPA Assignment Agreements.

Budgets are awarded at the federal agency obligation amount listed on the IPA.

Revenue is accrued when the federal agency is invoiced. The first three quarterly invoices are prepared according to the fiscal obligation amount on the assignment agreement. The final invoice is for the balance due up to the authorized budget of the assignment agreement and is due within 90 days.

Expenditures should be reviewed with investigators on a monthly basis to confirm the expenses reflect the current work assignment. The federal agency should be notified immediately of any significant changes to the original agreement.

Expenditures Exceeding the Authorized Agreement Amount
Expenditures that exceed the original budget amount due to a change in assignment (e.g. increased effort / employee promotion) require a modification to the agreement (see changes to an Assignment Agreement).
However, there may also be instances when IPA expenses exceed the authorized budget (Federal Agency Obligation amount) when there has been no change in assignment (e.g. fringe benefit level changes) and the federal agency has agreed to cover the additional expense. In these instances:

  • Obtain an email from the federal agency (e.g. Ann Arbor VA) approving the incremental funding on the existing IPA.
  • Complete a Post Award Change Request (PACR) ‘Other Change’ in eRPM indicating the approved incremental funding for the agreement and include the incremental amount authorized in the Explanation/Documentation section. Include PO information on how the incremental expense is being covered (increase to current PO or provide new PO information).
  • Attach a copy of confirmation email from the federal agency authorizing the increase in supporting documents.

ORSP reviews the change request and issues a modification (MOD) for the incremental funding to allow invoicing for the additional expense amount.

 

Changes to an IPA Assignment Agreement (Modification)

UM is responsible for notifying the federal agency of any significant changes to the original assignment agreement by completing an Assignment Agreement modification so the information on the agreement is accurate, complete and current.  Depending on the type of change to the assignment, the modification may be processed by an incremental PAF, a Post-Award Change Request (PACR), or an ORSP Action Request. Be sure to include information about the significant change type on the modification agreement so that it is clear what is being modified / updated.

Significant Change Type IPA Assignment Agreement Modification Process
*Budget Increase Incremental PAF
Budget Decrease AWD Post-Award Change Request (Award Reduction)
Employee Duties or Responsibilities AWD ORSP Action Request
Work Assignment or Location AWD ORSP Action Request
Supervisory Relationship AWD ORSP Action Request

*Minor changes such as a salary increase due to annual pay adjustments, changes in benefits due to revised coverage and very short-term changes in duties do not require a modification to the original agreement (see expenditures exceeding the authorized amount).

If you need assistance determining which method to use to complete a modification, please contact msgrants@umich.edu for advice and help.

Early Termination of an IPA Assignment Agreement

IPA Assignments may be terminated at any time at the option of UM or the Federal Agency. When possible, the party terminating the agreement before the original completion date should give a 30-day notice to all parties involved. This notification should be in writing and should include the reason for the termination. An assignment must be terminated immediately if the employee on assignment is no longer employed by his or her original employer.

The following are required to terminate an agreement prior to the original completion date:

  • IPA Assignment Agreement Form Modification with updated assignment information  
  • A PACR requesting Early Termination / Close Out

Complete an IPA Assignment Agreement modification with the updated period of assignment information and submit the form to ORSP for submission to the federal agency via Request a Post-Award Change Request on the AWD record (change request ‘Other’: Modification to IPA Agreement) and include contact information for the federal agency. If the employee is terminating employment with the university they will also need to complete their Effort Certification.

 

Questions?

Contact us at msgrants@umich.edu (link sends e-mail) or 734-763-4272 / (Fax 734-615-9458)

2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC Building 520, Room 3174, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

A list of Grant Services & Analysis staff is available in the Personnel Directory.