Outside Employment Policies Public Employer Law and Legal Definition
Various state and federal laws govern outside employment practices. Such laws may prohibit or require approval for outside employment of public employees, most often applicable to federal employees and faculty at public universities. While respecting the benefits of outside employment for an employee's professional development, these policies generally seek to address concerns regarding conflicts of interest, distraction from job performance quality or scheduled work hours, misuse of employer's resources, and appearance of impropriety.
In federal government employment, employment essentially includes any compensated non-federal employment or business relationship for providing personal services. Compensation may be direct, indirect, or deferred (actual and necessary expenses not included). Different federal agencies have their own policies, so the outside employment policy of the particular agency needs to be consulted to determine applicable requirements.
Outside employment regulation also depends on the classification of the employee. For example, special government employees (SGEs) generally don't have to obtain prior approval. An SGE is appointed to perform temporary duties on a full-time or intermittent basis, with or without compensation, for no more than 130 days of any period of 365 consecutive days. Full-time, non-career presidential appointees (generally presidential appointees with Senate confirmation) may not receive any outside earned income for outside employment. E.O. No. 12674. Full-time, non-career SES employees may not:
Have outside earned income exceeding 15% of the annual basic salary for level II of the Executive Schedule; or
Receive compensation for:
- providing professional services (e.g., legal) or allowing their name to be used by an entity providing such services;
- serving as an officer or board member of any association, corporation, or other entity; or
- teaching, without the prior approval
Members of a Uniformed Service (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, etc.) on active duty may not receive pay from another government position, except during terminal leave, or unless specifically authorized by law. Enlisted personnel may be employed part-time during off-duty hours in Department of Defense non-appropriated fund activities. Members of the Armed Forces Reserves and members of the National Guard may receive military pay and allowances in addition to pay from another Government position.
Federal civilian retirees will have their salary reduced by the amount of their annuity unless an exception is approved; and retirees under age 70 may have their social security check reduced if their annual earnings exceed the established limit. Most retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will have their hourly pay reduced by the hourly rate of the annuity when reemployed by the federal government.
Generally, federal employees, civilian and military, are prohibited from receiving pay from more than one federal government source. This prohibition applies to agencies in the executive, legislative and judicial branches, corporations owned or controlled by the government, and non-appropriated fund organizations under the jurisdiction of the armed force. However, there are exceptions, such as agency approval, U.S. Postal Service employment, and emergency services relating to health, safety, protection of life or property, or national emergency.
The most fundamental ethics-related rule of governmental service is that the employee's focus in taking any governmental action is doing what is best for the public. This is known as the "public trust." This means that if the outside employment could affect the employee's financial interests, they should not take official action, even if they know that their intentions are good and noble.
Some of the prohibitions typically applicable to federal employment include:
1) DON'T REPRESENT OTHERS BEFORE FEDERAL OFFICIALS, OR ACCEPT COMPENSATION DIRECTLY RELATED TO REPRESENTATIONS MADE BY OTHERS TO FEDERAL OFFICIALS.
This would include:
- Acting as agent or attorney for prosecuting a claim against the United States, or receiving a gratuity, share, or interest in such claim in consideration for assistance in prosecuting the claim.
- Advocating, irrespective of compensation, the interests of your outside employer, your private corporation, or outside clients, to or before any Federal official, whether in person, by phone, or in writing.
- Being compensated for work you do in support of another's representations before any official of the Federal government.
- Lobbying a federal agency for your outside employer.
- Submitting, under your signature, a grant or loan application on behalf of your family corporation.
2) DON'T USE NONPUBLIC INFORMATION, GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, OR OFFICIAL TIME IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT.
3) DON'T USE NONPUBLIC INFORMATION, GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, OR OFFICIAL TIME IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT.
4) DON'T SERVE AS AN EXPERT WITNESS OTHER THAN ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES.
Legal Definition list
Related Legal Terms
- Absence Rate [Employment Law]
- Abuse of Public Office
- Accompanying the Armed Forces outside the United States
- Accompanying the Federal Government Outside the United States
- Across-the-Board Increase [Employment]
- Acta Publica
- Ad Vindictam Publicam
- Adverse Employment Action
- Adverse Employment Decision
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act