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    Organization Burden

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    Effective date:



    Policy Summary

    This policy provides guidance on the general management and administration of Berkeley Lab’s scientific and operations organization burden costs.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    All Laboratory employees who manage organization burdens

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

    The POLICY tab on this wiki page

    Contact Information

    Indirect Budget ManagerOffice of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)


    Organization Burden

    Publication date:


    Effective date:



    A. Purpose

    This policy provides guidance on the general management and administration of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) scientific and operations organization burden expenses.

    B. Persons Affected

    All Laboratory employees who manage organization burdens

    C. Exceptions


    D. Policy Statement

    1. General

    Organization burden costs represent the costs of overall management and administration of the scientific and operations support divisions or departments. Organizational burdens will be:

      1. Appropriately budgeted and accounted for on a consistent basis.
      2. Accumulated in standardized indirect cost pools (organization burden projects).
      3. Allocated in an equitable and reasonable manner to the benefiting cost objectives (projects) in an equitable and reasonable manner. 

    1. Cost Pool Expense
      1. Organization burden costs include activities related to the management, supervision, and administration of the division/department.
      2. Organization burden cost pools shall not include research and development (R&D) activities.
      3. The cost pool should not include costs that are unallowable, or not in compliance with Berkeley Lab's prime contract, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and/or Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).
      4. The organization burden cost pools may include the following cost elements:
        1. Labor Expenses
          1. Division Director. Wage expense of the division director for management and oversight of the division, as well as strategic planning.
          2. Division Deputies. Wage expense of division/department deputies to support the management and oversight of the division, as well as strategic planning.
          3. Division Office Staff. Wage expense of division administrators, division office management, and other administrative support.
          4. Division Support. Wage expense of staff whose appointment or assignment is of a division-wide nature and that clearly and specifically supports the division director's responsibilities. This may include operations managers and other professional staff such as business managers, safety coordinators, financial resource analysts, and Human Resources partners who support the overall division. It may also include activities such as preparing an annual division research report or reviewing work task proposals, or general business development activities. Assignments that benefit specific projects are excluded.
          5. Staff Between Assignments. Wage expense of employees between assignments.
        2. Other Expenses
          1. Division Office Operating Costs. Costs may include, but are not limited to travel, recharges, vehicles, non-capital equipment purchases, equipment rental/maintenance, computing, recruitment activities, other supplies and expense items, divisional seminars, and electricity expenses related to the division office. Other operating costs may be included as appropriate.
          2. Development Activities. May include events or activities in support of training, career development or area-wide program development outcomes.
          3. Building Expenses, Alterations, and Moving Expenses. Costs of building managers, building supplies and equipment, general-use equipment repairs, noncapital space alterations, and division-initiated moves.
          4. Research Project Termination. Support for project termination expenses is intended to allow reasonable accommodation to unanticipated or sudden minor changes in division research activities due to a specific project termination. It does not provide for termination of a major research program or a subprogram, which should be directly funded by the program.
          5. Equipment. Costs for equipment include the purchase, fabrication, lease, installation and maintenance of equipment that broadly supports area activities. Such equipment must meet the criteria below.
            • The users/beneficiaries of the equipment are included in the area burden distribution base. The equipment is used to support area multi-programmatic and/or interdisciplinary functions where the predominant use is not directly identified with a specific project. In addition, equipment does not apply to institution-wide users/beneficiaries.
            • Capital equipment may be charged to the area burden if it meets the requirement above and the following requirements:
              1. Capital equipment criteria (see Definitions/Acronyms, below).
              2. Users/beneficiaries are within the division's organization burden base.
              3. Users/beneficiaries include multiple sponsors and/or projects within the organization burden base.
            • Must meet the requirements in LBNL's Property, Plant, and Equipment Policy.
    2. Distribution Base

    The distribution base for organization burden costs is the associated divisional wage expenses (labor and payroll burden), campus labor and contract labor.

      1. The following are excluded from the distribution base for organization burden costs:
        1. Area and organization burden labor charged to their respective cost pools.
        2. Costs of all consultants and the wage expense of employees matrixed from other organizations.
        3. Fellowship and career-development Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) award projects and work-study students.
        4. Multiple location assignments (MLAs), inter-jurisdictional employee exchanges (IJEs), intergovernmental personnel appointments (IPAs), and Department of Energy (DOE) detailee projects.

    4. Rate Execution and Monitoring

      1. Organization burden costs are allocated using pre-established rates. Rates are based on forecasted costs for the applicable fiscal year.
      2. Preliminary organization burden rates are developed on a break-even basis, with the objective of establishing a rate to recover the exact total of costs in the cost pool at fiscal year-end. If a material variance exists between cost and recovery at fiscal year end, the area will revise the rate and/or budget to appropriately allocate the variance. Revised rates are retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year.
      3. Establishment of Organization burdens, as well as forecasts, and revisions of predetermined rates for the applicable cost accounting period(s) are prepared by appropriate division staff and coordinated and executed through the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) Budget Office.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Managers, supervisors, and employees have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy.



    Organization Burden Resource Analyst
    • Formulates and coordinates the Organization Burden cost pool and allocation base.
    • Coordinates and executes Organization Burden rate forecasts, establishment of the predetermined rate for the applicable cost accounting period(s), and revisions to the pre-established rate.
    • Maintains supporting documentation for recharge cost pools and allocation bases.
    • Monitors the recharge costs and collections to ensure that cost recovery is as close to break-even as possible. With input from Division Leadership, submits the Organization Burden cost pool, distribution base and rate.

    Division Leadership

    • Leads the formulation and coordination of the organization expense pool and allocation base in accordance with the above policy.
    • Executes the organization expense-rate forecasts and establishes the predetermined rate for the applicable cost accounting period(s).
    • Coordinates revisions to the pre-established organization budget and rate with the Budget Office.

    Division Director (or Designee)

    • Signs off on submissions (to the Budget Office) of proposed budget and rate changes.

    Budget Office

    • Performs periodic reviews of rate cost pools and rate performance.
    • Submits the forward pricing rates to the appropriate DOE Office for approval.
    • Distributes rates to financial stakeholders.*
    • Identifies cost accounting practice changes, makes appropriate Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) Disclosure Statement revisions, and submits changes to the appropriate DOE office for approval.

    *In the context of this policy, financial stakeholders may include area/division business managers or other area/division operations staff to whom area/division management has given accountability for financial matters. This may also include Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) staff matrixed to the area/division.

    F. Definitions/Acronyms




    To assign an item of cost, or a group of items of cost, to one or more cost objectives. This term includes both direct assignment of cost and the reassignment of a share from an indirect cost pool.

    Capital Equipment

    Movable personal property with an anticipated service life of two years or more and a cost of $500,000 or more, which substantially retains its original characteristics. Capital equipment does not include application software, maintenance, repair, warranties, real property improvements, or related personal property.

    Contract 31 “Contract 31” refers to Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, the contract between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California (UC) describing the terms for UC to manage Berkeley Lab. The contract includes a statement of work (SOW) for the science missions, and details the requirements for managing the operations and business of Berkeley Lab.

    Cost Objective

    A function, organizational subdivision, program, or other work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, projects, etc.

    Final Cost Objective

    A cost objective to which is allocated both direct and indirect costs and which is one of the final accumulation points.

    Indirect Cost

    Any cost identified with two or more joint final cost objectives that cannot be identified specifically with a particular activity or project.

    Indirect Cost Pool

    A grouping of incurred costs identified with two or more cost objectives, but not identified specifically with any final cost objective.

    Value-Added Cost Input Total cost input less material and subcontract costs.

    Wage Expense

    Salary multiplied by Paid Leave Factor multiplied by one plus the Payroll Burden Rate {Salary x Paid Leave Factor x (1 + Payroll Burden Rate)}

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements


    H. Implementing Documents

    I. Contact Information

    Indirect Budget Manager, Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

    J. Revision History



    By whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) affected

    Change Type



    J. Coyne

    Periodic review: additional clarifications on existing policy



    3/2/2020 2 L. Freeman Periodic review: no changes Pub & Next review date Editorial
    9/10/2018 2 L. Freeman Policy clarifications: edits for consistency; add detailed R&Rs All Minor
    9/26/2013 1.2 L. Freeman Periodic review: no changes Pub & Next review date Editorial
    12/17/2012 1.1 B. Smith Update Exclusions in Distribution Base and Capital Equipment Definition Policy Statement, Definitions Minor
    1/2/2012 1 C. Lundell Reformat for wiki All Minor



    Organization Burden

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    Functional Division


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