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 preapproved 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?

Contact Contract Administration at 360-650-7731 or email

Due to the strict Washington State personal service regulations, it is best to contact Contract Administration to discuss your Department’s specific contract need.

We need a contract. Can Contract Administration help us through the process?

Yes. Contract Administration can provide you with a contract boiler plate, review your contract drafts, and guide you through the contracting process. Or, you may prefer to provide Contract Administration with all pertinent information and request that Contract Administration prepares the contract for your review.

We've misplaced our copy of a contract. How can we get another copy?

Contact Contract Administration, 360-650-7731. Contract Administration maintains the contract files for Western.

Can our contract be renewed or do we have to form another contract?

Contract Administration will review the contract in question to determine if the contract language provides for renewals beyond the initial term of the 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 **INSERT LINK**.

Should our department authority sign the contract?

No. Only select delegated individuals may sign contracts on behalf of the University. If you are unsure about signing a document, do not sign. Usually contacts do not require department authority signatures. The department authority should sign the Contract Administration Routing Sheet, or if preferred, may sign the memo forwarding the contract to Contract Administration.

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 Administration has contract boiler plates for most types of contracts. For sample contract language, please visit the Contract Administration Important Forms web page.

How can I find out the status of a contract I sent Contract Administration?

Please contact our department at 360-650-7731.

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.

Page Updated 02.11.2015