The NIH Salary Cap – in the Crosshairs

NIH and some other parts of the US federal government have been operating under a continuing resolution, which will expire on December 16, 2011.  One detail embedded within the budget process is the NIH Salary Cap. The salary cap  has been set at Executive Level I since FY 2001. Prior to that, it was set at other levels in the executive pay scale or not tied to the Executive Level at all.

The President’s budget request for FY 2012 recommended that the salary cap be set at Executive Level II (section 203 page 59 of this document), which in the current Executive Level breakdown would reduce the cap from $199,700 to $179,700. The Omnibus spending bill  that is being discussed in congress starting today includes a recommendation to reduce the cap to Executive Level III, which is currently $165,300 [see section 203, page 79].

A reduction in the salary cap for NIH and SAMHSA of $20,000 – $34,400 would require institutions to cover the additional cost of salaries above the cap for time allocated to funded research projects.