Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory masthead LBNL Home A-Z Index U.S. Department of Energy logo Phone Book Jobs Search



Search the RPM

Organization Burden

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata


    Organization Burden

    Publication date:


    Effective date:



    Policy Summary

    This policy guides the management and administration of Berkeley Lab organization burdens (costs for the general management and administration of the Laboratory's scientific and support divisions or departments).
    Laboratory organization burden costs are accumulated in standardized indirect cost pools (organization burden projects) and allocated in an equitable and reasonable manner to the benefiting cost objectives (projects).

    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 Manager


    Organization Burden

    Publication date:


    Effective date:



    A. Purpose

    This policy guides the management and administration of organization burdens (costs for the general management and administration of the scientific and support divisions or departments) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

    B. Persons Affected

    All Laboratory employees who manage organization burdens

    C. Exceptions


    D. Policy Statement

    1. Laboratory organization burden costs are:
      1. Accumulated in standardized indirect cost pools (organization burden projects)
      2. Allocated in an equitable and reasonable manner to the benefiting cost objectives (projects)
    2. Cost Pool Expense Types: Organization burden costs include activities related to the management, supervision, and administration of the division. Research and development costs are not appropriate to include in the organization burden. The organization burden cost pools include the following appropriate cost elements:
      1. Labor Expenses
        1. Division/Department Deputy. Wage expense of division/department deputy and/or assistant division directors
        2. Division/Department Office Staff. Wage expense of division administrators, division and/or department office management personnel, and secretarial and clerical support
        3. Division/Department 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, e.g., preparing an annual division research report or reviewing work task proposals. Assignments that benefit specific projects are excluded.
        4. Staff Between Assignments. Wage expense of employees between assignments.
      2. Other Expenses
        1. Division/Department Office Operating Costs. Charges for telephone, printing, copying, travel, vehicles, noncapital equipment purchases, equipment rental/ maintenance, computing, other supplies and expense items, divisional seminars, and electricity expenses related to the division/department office. Other operating costs may be included as appropriate.
        2. 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
        3. 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.
        4. Equipment. Costs for equipment include the purchase, fabrication, lease, and maintenance of equipment that broadly supports division activities, develops new capabilities, and/or assists in attracting scientists in key research and development areas.
          1. The users/beneficiaries of the equipment are included in the division's organization burden distribution base. The equipment is used to support division multiprogrammatic and/or interdisciplinary functions where the predominant use is not directly identified with a specific project. In addition, equipment does not apply to institutional-wide users/beneficiaries.
          2. Capital equipment may be charged to organization burden if it meets the requirement above and the following requirements:
            • Capital equipment criteria (see Definitions/Acronyms, below)
            • Capital equipment costs are less than 15% of the overall organization burden budget.
            • Users/beneficiaries are within the division's organization burden base.
            • Users/beneficiaries include multiple sponsors and/or projects within the organization burden base.
          3. The Laboratory's Organization Burden Capital Equipment (OBCE) approval form is submitted to Property Accounting and Budget Office for concurrence prior to beginning the acquisition or project. See the Organization Burden Capital Equipment (OBCE) Approval Process flowchart, below, for procedure and project setup criteria.

            Organization Burden Capital Equipment (OBCE) Approval Process Flowchart

    3. Distribution Base: The distribution base for organization burden costs includes organizational wage expenses (labor and payroll burden) and contract labor.
      1. The following are excluded from the distribution base for organization burden costs:
        1. Organization burden labor charged to the cost pool
        2. Costs of all consultants and the wage expense of employees matrixed from other organizations
        3. Fellowship and career-development Work for Others (WFO) Award projects and Work-Study students
        4. Multiple location assignments (MLAs), inter-jurisdictional employee exchanges (IJEs), intergovernmental personnel appointments (IPAs), and DOE Detailee.
    4. Rate Management
      1. Organization burden costs are allocated using pre-established rates. Each rate must have its own separate cost pool and distribution base. The rates are based on forecasted costs for the applicable cost accounting period(s) (Laboratory's fiscal year).
      2. Preliminary organization burden rates are developed on a break-even basis. The objective is to establish a rate that will 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 rate and/or budget will be revised to appropriately allocate the variance.
      3. Organization burden rate forecasts, and the establishment and revision of predetermined rates for the applicable cost accounting period(s), are prepared by the divisions and coordinated and executed through the Budget Office.
    5. Financial Management System (FMS) Project Setup: To set up a project in FMS, the division submits the following information in "R – Requested" status:
      1. Organization Burden Projects
      2. Organization Burden Capital Equipment (OBCE) Projects

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

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

    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.

    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

    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

    J. Revision History



    By whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) affected

    Change Type



    C. Lundell

    Reformat for wiki





    B. Smith

    Update Exclusions in Distribution Base and Capital Equipment Definition

    Policy Statement, Definitions


    9/26/2013 1.2 L. Freeman Review completed 5/15/2013, no changes Publ & Next review date Minor



    Organization Burden

    Document number

    Revision number


    Publication date:


    Effective date:


    Next review date:


    Policy Area:


    RPM Section (home)

    Financial Management

    RPM Section (cross-reference)


    Functional Division


    Prior reference information (optional)


    Source Requirements Documents

    Implementing Documents

    • No labels