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Quick Facts About Outside Activities

Q: Do I need approval to work a second job or participate in an outside activity?

A: Employees are required to obtain advance approval for outside employment and many outside activities. Approval should be obtained prior to engaging in the activity using Form HHS-520 (Request for Approval of Outside Activity). Many social, recreational, political or fraternal activities do not require approval. However, the employee should seek an opinion from the Ethics Office if they question whether approval is needed to perform an activity.

Q: Can CDC management refuse to approve an outside activity?

A: The employee’s management will initially approve or disapprove the activity. The Ethics Office will further analyze the request for potential conflicts of interest with the employee’s official duties. If a determination is made that the outside activity will not conflict with the employee’s official duties, then the activity will most likely be approved. The employee’s first responsibility is to the Agency, and any outside activity is secondary to the needs of CDC. HHS 520

Q: I currently have an approved outside activity request on file that covers a five-year period and does not expire until 2006. Do I need to submit another request for this same activity?

A: Yes. Outside activity requests can only be approved for a one-year period. Employees who have current approval for a period greater than one-year should re-submit their request on Form HHS 520.

Q: Do I have to complete the form electronically, or can I just obtain a hardcopy of the form, complete it, and then turn it in?

A: All employees seeking approval to participate in an outside activity must request approval on Form HHS 520. The form can be completed electronically, but it must be printed and signed. Once completed, the form can be forwarded for approval.

Q: Do I need to request approval for each activity I am interested in performing, or can the activities be submitted in group form?

A: Each activity requires a separate request form.

Q: Do all employees have to complete the HHS 520 form?

A: All employees who wish to participate in an outside activity that requires approval must complete the HHS 520 form and submit it to their supervisor for action.

Q: What is the deadline for completing the form?

A: The deadline for completing the HHS 520 form is 4 to 6 weeks prior to starting the activity.

Q: What happens if I participate in an outside activity that requires approval, but I don't complete the HHS 520 form?

A: The outside activity approval process is an integral part of the Agency's ethics program. Employees who fail to obtain approval prior to participating in certain activities will be out of compliance with the Agency's ethics regulations and may be subject to administrative action.

  • Page last reviewed: May 12, 2009
  • Page last updated: May 12, 2009
  • Content source: CDC and ATSDR Ethics Program
  • Notice: Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS, CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.
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