HRM-025: Professional Service and External Consulting for University Staff Employees

Date: 05/22/2009 Status: Final
Last Revised: 10/27/2016
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
Reason for Policy:

The University of Virginia recognizes that the quality of work can be enhanced when staff members participate in professional service or external consulting activities. The University also recognizes that this privilege can be valuable to the individuals and the institution alike, and supports activities that do not have an adverse impact on a staff member’s primary commitment to the University. This policy establishes guidelines for participation in professional service or external consulting activities by certain University Staff employees.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • External Consulting:

    A professional activity related to an individual's area of expertise, where that individual receives compensation from a third party and is not acting as an agent of the University. The guiding principle is that, in consulting, a person agrees to use his or her professional capabilities to further the agenda of a third party in return for an immediate or prospective gain. Consulting is not considered outside employment which may or may not directly relate to an individual’s professional discipline.

    • Outside Employment:

      Self-employment and other work for another employer in which the employee receives compensation beyond that paid by the University. Outside Employment does not include Professional Service. 

  • Highly Sensitive Data (1):

    Highly sensitive data currently include personal information that can lead to identity theft if exposed and health information that reveals an individual’s health condition and/or history of health services use.

  • Managerial & Professional Staff Employee (M&P):

    University staff employees who manage a division or subdivision of a major academic or administrative unit and/or exercise significant knowledge, discretion and independent judgment gained through advanced education or experience. This category includes coaches, other than Head or Associate Head Coaches/Coordinators, on individually negotiated contracts. M&P Staff are typically exempt employees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and therefore not subject to the FLSA provisions governing the payment of overtime.

  • Professional Service:

    Activities related to University or public service including service on national commissions, governmental agencies and boards, granting agency peer-group review panels, visiting committees or advisory groups to other universities, professional associations, and analogous bodies. The fundamental difference between these activities and consulting is that they are public or University service. Although an honorarium or equivalent may be received, these Professional Service activities are not undertaken for personal financial gain. Professional Service does not qualify as Consulting.

    • Honorarium:

      A token of appreciation paid to an individual for services performed for which payment is not required. The services involved vary but are generally associated with oral presentations made at University sponsored functions. The arrangement between the individual and the University is informal. It does not involve a contract, and invoicing is not required. An employee may not receive an honorarium from the University.

  • University Equipment:

    University owned or leased property used to assist in performing an activity or function (e.g., hand tools, power tools, audio-visual equipment, etc.). University equipment does not include University infrastructure (e.g., networks, buildings, etc.); office furnishings that remain in the location designated for their use (e.g., desks, file cabinets, bookcases, etc.); or telephone and computing resources that are covered by other specific policies.

  • University Staff Employees (University Staff):

    Those salaried, non-faculty employees hired on or after July 1, 2006, and those salaried non-faculty employees and administrative and professional faculty electing to participate in the University Human Resources System established by the Board of Visitors under the authority granted by the Restructuring Act and the Management Agreement. (The term “University Staff Employee” includes all three categories of University Staff Employees - Operational & Administrative, Managerial & Professional, and Executive & Senior Administrative.)

Policy Statement:

The University recognizes that professional service and external consulting can enrich the professional development and stature of its employees and create and build relationships with other universities, state and local governments, and private businesses that may benefit the University as well as the employee. The Executive & Senior Administrative staff and M&P categories of University Staff may engage in professional service during normal working hours as long as the activity:

  • does not detract from the employee’s job performance and work obligations to the University;
  • does not hinder the University’s ability to modify work schedules; and
  • clearly benefits the University and relates to professional practice.

Eligible University Staff employees remain responsible for meeting the performance expectations, job requirements, and scheduling demands of their positions while engaged in professional service activities.

Executive & Senior Administrative and M&P staff may engage in external consulting while on approved leave or outside of normal work hours.

The supervisor will require the employee to terminate his or her professional service or external consulting activities should the supervisor determine that these activities interfere with his or her job performance or the employee’s ability to meet the requirements of the University.

  1. Requirement for Prior Review and Approval:
    While the University permits professional service and external consulting, University staff must receive prior approval if these activities will be performed during the employee’s normal working hours (external consulting requires approved leave).

    In recommending whether a particular professional service activity should be encouraged and permitted, the immediate supervisor must assess the extent to which the activity will complement the University’s programs or interfere with the effective discharge of the employee’s responsibilities to the University. The immediate supervisor’s review should be completed in a timely manner. Schools/departments are responsible for maintaining documentation of all requests for professional service and leave.

It is the employee’s responsibility to be aware of potential conflict of interests and to bring forward any potential conflicts to the supervisor. The supervisor and the employee, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, determine whether or not the activity presents an actual or perceived conflict with the University. If it is determined that a conflict exists, the employee may not accept the professional service or external consulting assignment. See the University’s Conflict of Interests Policy, the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (Virginia Code Title 2.2, Chapter 31, Section §2.2-3100), and the Virginia Public Procurement Act (Virginia Code Title 2.2, Chapter 43, Section §2.2-4300) including Article 6. Ethics in Public Contracting (Section §2.2-4367).

  1. Independent Status of External Consulting:
    University Staff engaging in external consulting must clearly identify that they are acting independently and not as representatives of the University. See the University Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interests Policy.

  2. Use of University Facilities, Equipment, and Services:
    The facilities, equipment, and services of the University may not be used in connection with external consulting. See the University’s policy PRM-011, Use of Working Time and University Equipment for Personal or Commercial Purposes.

  3. Use of Copyrightable Material:
    University Staff may not use copyrightable materials that are owned by the University in external consulting. See the University’s policy RES-001, Ownership Rights in Copyrightable Material. This includes University and departmental stationery, logos, and web pages. See the University’s Copyright, Privacy, Web Policies.

  4. Use of Highly Sensitive Data and Intellectual Property:
    University Staff may not divulge or transfer highly sensitive data or intellectual property while engaging in external consulting or a professional service activity. (See the University’s Administrative Data Access Policy and policy RES-006, Patenting of Discoveries or Inventions at the University.)

  5. Use of Internet and the University’s Electronic Communications Systems:
    University Staff engaged in external consulting may use the University’s electronic communications systems for only incidental purposes such as receiving an occasional email. See the University’s Responsible Use: Ethics in Computer Usage Policy and the State’s Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media Policy, Policy Number 1.75. See the University’s Responsible Computing Handbook for Faculty and Staff.

  6. Roles and Responsibilities:
    The employee is responsible for:
    • Being aware of potential conflict of interests and discussing with the supervisor any assignments which may pose a conflict with the University.
    • Accepting no professional service or external consulting assignment that presents a conflict with University responsibilities;
    • Requesting and obtaining approval in advance of engaging in professional service during normal work hours;
    • Requesting and obtaining approved leave in advance of engaging in external consulting during normal work hours;
    • Indicating to outside parties that he/she is acting in the capacity of an independent professional and not a University representative when participating in external consulting; and
    • Complying with the terms of this policy and other applicable University policies and procedures.

The supervisor/department head is responsible for:

  • Reviewing and approving or disapproving requests for participation in professional service in a timely manner;
  • Consulting with the employee, and where applicable, the Office of the General Counsel, when the employee raises the question of potential conflict of interests for a professional service or external consulting assignment;
  • Reviewing and approving or disapproving requests for leave; and
  • Maintaining documentation of approval/disapproval on file.

University Human Resources is responsible for:

  • Providing advice and guidance to all parties involved in determining eligibility; and
  • Designing and implementing procedures and forms; maintaining all relevant records.

Request for Approval to Participate in Professional Service:

Submit a written request to the supervisor. The request from the employee should include:

  • A description of the professional service activity;
  • Location of the activity;
  • For whom the professional service activity is to be performed;
  • The approximate number of hours required, dates and time frame for the proposed activity; and
  • A justification for how the proposed activity will benefit the University and not negatively impact the employee’s University responsibilities.

The immediate supervisor will review and approve/disapprove the request.

[Note: For a consulting activity occurring during normal work hours, submit your leave request to your supervisor for review and approval/disapproval.]

Related Information:

University Policies:
IRM-003, Data Protection of University Information
PRM-011, Use of Working Time and University Equipment for Personal or Commercial Purposes
RES-001, Ownership Rights in Copyrightable Material
RES-006, Patenting of Discoveries or Inventions at the University (Patent Policy)

Conflict of Interest
Copyright, Privacy, Web Policies
Responsible Computing Handbook for Faculty and Staff
Responsible Use: Ethics in Computer Usage
University Code of Ethics

State Policies:
Policy # 1.75, Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 05/22/2009
Revision History: Updated Code reference 10/27/16.