Survey Manual

370.735.5 - Outside Work and Interests

This chapter provides supplemental instructions to the Departmental regulations governing outside work and interests.


OPR: Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter provides supplemental instructions to the Departmental regulations governing outside work and interests as contained in Part 20, Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations, except for the following activities which are covered elsewhere in the Manual as indicated below:

A. Non-Official Expression. See SM 370.735.4.

B. Political Activity. See SM 370.733.1.

C. Financial Interests. See SM 370.735.6.

D. Intergovernmental Assignments. See SM 370.334.1.

2. General Conditions Relating to Outside Work.

A. The time engaged in any outside work during official duty hours must be charged against the employee's annual leave. It is the Department's policy that LWOP shall not be granted for the purpose of private employment, with the exception of service with non-Federal public or quasi-public organizations. Arrangements may be made to adjust an employee's work schedule to accommodate outside work but only if the changes will not interfere appreciably with the accomplishment of the individual's official duties, are in the best interests of the USGS, and will not result in additional costs for personal services. Form 9-1533, Request for Basic Workweek Change, must be submitted when pertinent (see SM 370.610.1). Abuse of leave privileges to engage in outside work shall be treated as an interference with official performance.

B. The principal constraints affecting the approval of outside work or activity are:

(1) The preparation and presentation are performed wholly outside official duty hours or while on authorized leave.

(2) The preparation and presentation do not involve the contribution of time or services of other Federal employees during their official duty hours, nor the use of Government funds, facilities, materials, or information which is not available to the public or will not be made available on request.

C. Employees are not permitted to engage in any outside work or have any employment affiliation which might encourage, on the part of the members of the general public, a reasonable belief that a conflict of interest exists. Outside work must not be in conflict with the employee's official duties and must not be or appear to be in conflict with the mission of the USGS.

D. With limited exceptions, an employee may not receive compensation from any source other than the Government for teaching, speaking, and writing that directly relates to the employee's official duties.

E. Employees are not permitted to be involved in active proprietary management of a business closely related to the official work of the employee.

F. Employees will not be authorized to perform outside work that would tend to influence impartial judgment on any matters coming before the employee in the course of his or her official duties; e.g., working with contracting firms that may bid for contracts with the USGS.

3. Holding State or Local Office (other than an assignment under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970). An employee may hold a position under a State or local government provided it does not result from: participation in a partisan election; it will not interfere with the performance of his/her Federal duties; and it does not involve an incompatibility of interest.

4. Advance Authorization to Engage in Outside Work or Activity.

A. Where outside work or activity is related to official duties or the bureau's program responsibilities (or where employment or affiliation might incur a reasonable belief that it is in conflict with official duties or mission of the USGS), advance authorization must be obtained from the Division Chief following endorsement by the requestor's supervisor. Requests for approval are initiated on Form 9-1510, Request to Engage in Outside Work or Activity, (Figure 1) which is prepared in quadruplicate. Upon approval by the Division Chief, the form is forwarded to the Bureau Ethics Program Officer for procedural review to ensure that the action taken is not in violation of any pertinent personnel regulations.

Note: Form 9-1510 is not used to obtain approval to engage in any form of nonofficial expression (e.g., publications, one-time lectures, etc.,) the major content of which is directly related to activities with the USGS. Should the nature of the outside activity be such that the requestor is placed in a position in which his remarks, comments, or statements may be misinterpreted or otherwise misconstrued as official statements of the USGS, a request for approval of nonofficial expression must be submitted (see SM 370.735.4) instead of Form 9-1510.

Typical outside work related to official duties for which prior approval is required is provided in the following examples:

(1) Teaching of courses in geology, cartography, hydrology, civil engineering; technical writing by scientists, engineers, etc.

(2) Technical or editorial review of manuscripts, books, reports by scientific or engineering personnel or by professional editing staff for which remuneration is received. (Nonpaid review for technical or professional journals need not be documented.)

(3) Consulting roles to State, County, or Municipal Governmental entities by full-time employees.

(4) Full-time State, County, or Municipal employment by individuals who are in an intermittent (WAE) status with the Survey.

(5) Repair service on TV sets or appliances by electronics technicians.

(6) Preparation of bibliographies or similar materials by librarians.

B. Where outside work or interest is obviously unrelated to the bureau's program responsibilities, advance authorization is not required, but the employee must inform his/her supervisor when he/she engages in or plans to engage in such work or activity. However, prior approval must be obtained in those rare situations (generally involving extended periods of illness or confinement) where an employee wishes to engage in outside employment during a period of sick leave.

5. Employment for or by Foreign Governments. Requests for approval to negotiate an assignment with a foreign government or contract with a private firm to perform overseas work should be submitted to the Ethics Program Officer in advance of entering into any contract or agreement. Such negotiations often occur in the cases of reemployed annuitants whose expertise is sought because of international reputations achieved during USGS careers. The combination of Survey employment either with assignments for a private contractor to perform work for a foreign government or with the foreign government itself is incompatible and, therefore, prohibited. Furthermore, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution of the United States provides: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, or any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

FIGURE 1 - Form 9-1510 (Request to Engage in Outside Work or Activity)

SEE InForms/Forms Manager for copy of form.