Frequently Asked Questions
What is a contract?
Any written form of documentation legally obligating the University performance or monetary issues. For example, any document that contains language related to pricing, statement of work, insurance, indemnification, legal venue, rights and responsibilities of either party or similar language, whether or not it involves monetary payment or indicates it requires the signature of the University, should be considered a legal contract.
Who can sign a contract?
The President’s Office delegates signatories. The Contract Signature Authority List allows for a small number of employees to sign on behalf of the University. Assume that you cannot sign anything that might be a contract.
How do I pay for a guest speaker?
Services of $600 or more must be pre-approved through Contract Administration.
An annual dollar limit of $599.99 has been set by the Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs based on Human Resources Department policies and tax regulations and in consultation with appropriate constituencies. Payments, including any travel expenses, which exceed those limits are not honoraria and must be processed as a Personal Service Contract (see POL-U5348.0).
An Honorarium is a payment given in recognition of a special service or distinguished achievement when custom or propriety does not allow a fixed business price. Honoraria are paid to persons of scholarly or professional standing who do not represent a business enterprise and are not employees of the University.
The Services/Reimbursement Form is used for initiating payments to guest speakers who provide a one-time service, not exceeding $599.99, with an honorarium code of E211. If travel is paid separately, please separate the expense on the form, and use the appropriate E code for travel.
For more information on Paying Honoraria to Non-employees, refer to POL-U5348.0.
I need to hire a consultant. How do I go about this?
Due to the strict Washington State personal service regulations, it is best to contact Contract Administration to discuss your Department’s specific contract need.
- For further detailed information, visit OFM State Administrative & Accounting Manual (SAM) and particularly Chapters 15 and Chapter 16 or check out additional OFM contracting resources.
We've misplaced our copy of a contract. How can we get another copy?
Copies of signed contracts can be located on the locked e-sign Contract Routing Form. For additional needs, please email Andrea Rodger with your request. Contract Administration maintains the contract files for Western.
Can our contract be renewed or do we have to form another contract?
Contract language often provides for renewals beyond the initial term of the contract based on continued payment. Often, an amendment can extend the term of a contract if extensions are not provided for in the initial contract.
Does a contract have to be in writing?
Yes, all contracts need to be in writing. Furthermore, it is not always the dollar amount that dictates the need for a contract. Measuring the amount of "risk" is necessary as well.
Can we pay an employee an honorarium or do we have to go through payroll?
Payments to employees who are currently on Western's payroll (or within one calendar year of separation from Western) must be paid through Western's Payroll System if the work is similar to work they currently perform for Western.
If the honorarium is for work entirely different from the employee's regular duties, an honorarium may be paid. Please contact Contract Administration prior to performance of the work. Please see more information on issuing Honoraria
Should our department authority sign the contract?
No. Only select delegated individuals may sign contracts on behalf of the University. The department authority should sign the Contract Administration Routing Sheet eSign Form.
Can we contract with a current or former employee?
The answer often will be "no," as prohibitions apply to any type of service contracting with the State, not just personal service contracting. Please contact Contract Administration for assistance prior to performance of service.
Is there a standard contract form that we can use to begin a contract?
Yes. Contract templates for most types of contracts are linked on the Contract Types and Templates Page.
How can I find out the status of a contract I sent Contract Administration?
Please review the Contract Routing Form comments section and routing sequence at the bottom of the form. Contract Administration understands the urgency for transparency in contract processing and is updating the Routing Form Comments with the current status as quickly as possible.
What if my contractor is from another country?
If your contractor does not have a US Social Security Number or an ITIN #, Accounts Payable may need to withhold 30% of the payment for IRS taxes. For additional questions please contact Accounts Payable.
Does the individual we want to hire need to have a WA State Business License?
In general, any person acting in an independent capacity to perform personal services in this state must have a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) before conducting any work.
Please go to Doing Business tab on the Washington State Department of Revenue website.