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Outside Employment Policy (Academic Staff)

Category Human Resources
Type Policy
Approved by Approved by Council 15 October 1996 as recommended by the UNICOM Board
Date Policy Took Effect 15 October 1996
Last approved revision 31 May 2008
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration


1. Definition of Outside Employment

In terms of this policy, outside employment is defined as any work undertaken by a staff member that is for remuneration and is on behalf of him/herself (i.e. self-employed) or for an organisation/person outside of the University. The work will be in addition to his/her primary responsibility as a full-time member of the academic staff of the University.

2. General Policy

The primary responsibility of a full-time member of the academic staff at the University of Otago is the discharge of teaching, research and community service duties.

Although the University believes that nothing should interfere with this, it is generally agreeable to a full-time staff member undertaking limited paid outside employment provided that there is no conflict between:

  1. the staff member's commitment to his/her outside employment and his/her commitment to his/her University position and all its associated responsibilities; and
  2. the nature of the staff member's outside employment and the business of the University.

3. Requests for Permission to Undertake Paid Outside Employment

The general rule is that a full-time member of staff should not undertake any outside employment except with the consent of the Vice-Chancellor, through the appropriate Divisional Head and Head of Department. Such consent will not be withheld unreasonably. In most cases it will be in the interest of the University and of its members of staff that this consent should be given, subject always to the general policy of no conflict of interest as stated above. Permission is required for the protection of the member of staff as well as the University.

A member of staff shall, before accepting any commitment, discuss any proposal to undertake outside employment with the Head of Department and obtain the approval of the Vice-Chancellor, through the appropriate Divisional Head, with a written request which includes a plan of the outside employment proposed with estimates of the time likely to be involved. Where any activity is of a continuing nature, permission should be obtained on any occasion where the renewal of an appointment is proposed, or at two-yearly intervals if the duration of the appointment is not specified.

4. Categories of Outside Employment

Outside employment may categorised as follows:

a. Regular paid outside employment done by staff members in their personal capacity for public agencies

The Vice-Chancellor has from time to time granted requests by government or scientific or professional bodies that a full-time member of staff should be permitted to undertake paid outside employment eg as a member of some public board, commission or committee, or as a consultant or adviser. In some of these and similar cases, the outside employment is of such substantial extent as to make it desirable to set the staff member free from some part of normal university duties. In such circumstances the Vice-Chancellor has established the general rule that a part of the payment for the outside employment should be available to the University for this purpose, or that the University should be recompensed by the outside body concerned. (Normally, leave to undertake such employment will be granted without pay but if this would mean the staff member received less than his/her University salary, the University may agree to make up the difference. Alternatively, the outside employing body may prefer that the University continue paying the staff member, and it would reimburse the University. This is the more satisfactory arrangement).

b. Regular professional practice or the conduct of a trade or business (including directorships)

A type of regular outside employment to which special considerations apply would occur where a full-time member of the staff desired to enter in the ordinary way into the practice of a profession, or to conduct any trade or business, whether as a promoter, director, manager or agent. Staff should not commence such practice, nor conduct any such trade or business(including consultancy) in any of the roles specified without having obtained the prior approval of the Vice-Chancellor, through the appropriate Divisional Head. In seeking this approval it must be established that there is no conflict of interest with the activities of the University. Approval to accept a directorship as a nominee of the University is not, however, required.

c. Occasional work done by members of staff in their personal capacity

It is not desired to impose on members of staff the obligation of reporting minutiae but rather any proposal to undertake regular outside employment. The borderline between occasional and regular work cannot be laid down except in the circumstances of each particular case. It will be for the Vice-Chancellor to determine when a staff member's proposed outside employment is of such a character as to require some adjustment of University duties and the disposition of part of the earnings along the lines laid down in Section 4(a) above. It is not necessary to obtain permission to accept payment for occasional broadcasts, telecasts and public lectures. If University facilities or equipment are used in the work concerned, the member of staff should make an adequate payment to the University covering the use of the facilities or equipment.

5. Principles

The following principles apply:

  1. It is not the University's intention to restrict outside employment, but certain controls have to be observed.
  2. Staff may not use the name of the University for personal or monetary gain.
  3. The University accepts no responsibility or liability for the quality of outside employment undertaken by its staff in a personal capacity. Staff undertaking outside employment are required to make the University's position on this matter clear to the person/agency for whom the work is to be carried out.
  4. Staff members shall not use any University facility or service when undertaking outside employment except with the approval of their Head of Department and Divisional Head. In such cases staff will be required to meet the full cost for use of such facilities and/or services.
  5. The staff member may retain all net earnings (see Section 5(d) above) received from outside employment subject always to the general policy of no conflict of interest as stated above.
  6. Staff are not covered by the University's indemnity insurance or any other insurance when undertaking outside employment.
  7. Staff shall not undertake outside employment that is obtained as a result of public announcement or advertisement by the staff member indicating any link whatsoever with the University.
  8. Staff shall not undertake outside employment that is in direct competition with services or programmes offered by the University.
  9. Staff shall not undertake outside employment that adversely affects the academic and/or professional independence normally enjoyed by staff in academic employment
  10. Outside employment activities shall only be taken into account in the assessment of staff performance and of promotion applications:
    1. where the activities are not in conflict with the business of the University and the staff member's commitment to his/her University position; and
    2. where it can be independently verified that the activities have resulted in scholarly advances in the respective discipline of the staff member

It is not intended that these principles should limit any arrangements made by the Vice-Chancellor to permit private practice by individual staff members which may be included in any existing or future conditions of appointment, or in any regulations approved for members of a particular Division.

6. Compliance

Primary accountability and responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy rests with Heads of Departments and Divisional Heads.

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Dan Wilson
HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration
Tel +64 3 479 8092