There is no clear guidance related to sick leave buyouts.  Some agencies have tried to address annual leave buyouts and the general direction is to consider these types of payouts as unreasonable in that they do not directly benefit or further the objectives of the award.

Based on the attention that leave buyouts have received recently, including in the Uniform Guidance, there is a probability that an audit would disallow this cost. For that reason, we would advise obtaining sponsor approval to direct charge sick leave payouts.

The Graduate school explained that the $150 lump sum payment provided to Graduate Student Assistants on appointment (GRA, GTA, or GAA) is compensation in lieu of an increase in salary.   This is an allowable cost on most sponsored Awards with two caveats: 1) NIH sets the reasonable compensation level for graduate students to the first year (zero-level”) Post Doc salary and fringe compensation.  So if this additional $150 is over this limitation it could be deemed unreasonable and disallowed; 2. Since this is compensation, the cost should be allocated on the same basis to all funding sources that are paying their salary.