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Digest of Outside Activity Provisions

Digest of Outside Activity Provisions
E.O. 12674, § 102
5 C.F.R. 2635.804

Outside Earned Income Prohibition

Senate confirmed Presidential appointees (PAS) cannot receive any earned income for outside employment, or for any other non-governmental activity, performed during the course of that appointment.

5 U.S.C. App. 4,
§ 501(a)
5 C.F.R. 2636.304

Outside Earned Income Limitation

Non-career SES appointees, and certain other non-career employees paid at a rate of basic pay of $117,787 or more per year, are subject to a $26,550 cap on outside earned income for calendar year 2009. (The figure changes annually and is calculated at 15% of the pay rate for Executive Schedule Level II, as of January 1, and is prorated for employees who serve only part of the year.) Outside activities must not conflict with assigned duties. Certain outside activities are prohibited, and others must be authorized in advance on HHS Form 520 and reported annually on an HHS Form 521. Consult 5 C.F.R. §§ 5501.106 and 5501.109. Travel and hotel expenses paid in conjunction with an approved outside activity are not earned income for purposes of the 15% cap. In addition, the provision does not apply to rents, royalties, or income derived from investments where the individual's services are not a material factor in the production of income, e.g., a commercial real estate limited partnership.

5 U.S.C. App. 4
5 C.F.R. 2636.305
- 2636.307

Restrictions on Professional Employment, Affiliations, and Teaching

Non-career SES appointees, and certain other non-career employees earning a rate of basic pay of $117,787 or more per year, cannot receive compensation for practicing a profession that involves a fiduciary relationship; affiliating with a firm that renders professional services; serving as an officer or member of the board of any association or corporation; or teaching without prior approval.

5 C.F.R. 2635.807

Ban on Compensated Speaking and Writing Related to Official Duties

Except for certain authorized teaching activities, no employee may accept compensation for speaking or writing that relates to official duties or where the invitation to engage in the activity was tendered by a prohibited source or extended primarily because of the employee’s official position.

5 U.S.C. App. 4
§ 501(b)

Honoraria Ban

Following a Supreme Court decision invalidating the honoraria ban for certain employee categories, the Department of Justice determined that non-PAS employees may receive compensation for an outside appearance, speech, or article, provided that the subject matter is unrelated to the employee’s official duties. (Any honorarium offered or accepted as a bribe or salary supplementation for official services remains prohibited by the criminal code, 18 U.S.C. §§ 201, 209.)

Office of the General Counsel, Ethics Division
Department of Health and Human Services
March 2009
  • Page last reviewed: April 24, 2009
  • Page last updated: April 24, 2009
  • Content source: CDC and ATSDR Ethics Program
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