Outside activities – the rules affecting you as an employee
You report outside activities in Primula, under My page/outside activity.
What is an outside activity?
An ‘outside activity’, in principle, is any activity in which a state employee temporarily or permanently engages alongside their employment and that cannot be regarded as belonging to private life. It can involve an additional employed position, carrying out commissions, self-employment or other activities alongside one’s ordinary work. In everyday speech, an outside activity is sometimes referred to as a ‘side job’, meaning an occupation alongside a person’s principal employment. The concept of outside activity is not explicitly defined in any legislation or agreement.
What does not count as an outside activity?
Various types of activities that typically belong to private life, e.g. engaging in a hobby or looking after personal and family property and private affairs, do not count as outside activities.
For university teachers, academic tasks for which a fee is paid – such as serving as an external reviewer of a doctoral or licentiate thesis or as an external expert, membership of an examining committee, and relatively limited tasks for research councils and scholarly journals, for example – do not count as outside activities either, as these activities fall within the scope of their employment.
Examples of outside activities that are generally permitted
The general rule is that outside activities are permitted, in typical cases such as:
- political or trade union office,
- responsibilities in scholarly associations,
- positions in non-profit organisations.
A teacher employed at a university may also need to participate in relatively time-consuming academic tasks and to take on remunerated responsibilities that are deemed to be outside activities.
Examples of relatively time-consuming academic tasks:
- membership of the board of governors of another higher education institution or a research funding body,
- relatively extensive editorial responsibilities for a journal,
- a major role in an evaluation.
By default, elected office and academic responsibilities are permitted. However, even in the case of elected positions and relatively time-consuming academic responsibilities, the employer should make an assessment as for all other outside activities. This is to ensure that the employer has an organised overview of outside activities and to make it possible to discover potential conflicts of interest in advance and avoid them as far as possible.
What types of outside activity are not permitted?
The employee’s interest in other involvements alongside their employment must be weighed against public demands that such activities are not pursued in a way that impairs confidence in the objectivity and impartiality of the public authority and its employees.
It also lies in the employer’s interest that employees, as far as possible, devote their time and energy to the duties they are paid to perform.
An outside activity may be deemed unacceptable on three grounds. An outside activity may be unacceptable on the basis of one or more of the grounds described below at the same time.
- Outside activities that undermine public confidence The first ground concerns relations between the general public and the public authority and its employees. The relevant regulations may be found in the Public Employment Act. This act stipulates that an employee may not have an outside activity that could impair confidence in the professional impartiality of that employee or another employee, or that could damage the authority’s reputation (outside activity that undermines public confidence). A typical example of an outside activity that could be regarded as undermining public confidence is that the outside activity has a business connection with Uppsala University that has not insignificant financial implications and that the employee – both within the framework of the outside activity and in their work at the University – has a decisive influence over commercial decisions relating to business relations between the outside activity and the University.
- Outside activities that interfere with duties The two other types of unacceptable outside activities concern relations between the employer and the employee and are regulated in the general agreement on pay and benefits for central government employees. This agreement rules that an employee is not allowed to have an outside activity that could interfere with the performance of their duties as an employee (outside activity that interferes with duties). A typical example of an outside activity that could interfere with duties is that a teacher has notified the employer of an outside activity that is scheduled in such a way or that is so time-consuming that the employee is unable to fulfil their teaching duties at Uppsala University.
- Competing outside activities An outside activity may also involve competition with the authority. An example of an outside activity that could be regarded as involving competition is that a teacher provides education in the same subject and with the same focus as contract education and is consequently competing with Uppsala University’s contract education activities (competing outside activity).
Special regulations for teaching staff
Special rules for teachers concerning subject-related R&D outside activities
Compared with other state employees, teachers at higher education institutions have relatively generous statutory rights to engage in outside activities. Uppsala University’s Appointment Regulations, which are published in the Staff Portal, list the categories of teachers that exist at the University.
R&D outside activities include production and other activities under the teacher’s own direction that are based on the teacher’s inventions, research in the field in which they are employed or products they have developed. They also include advice on scholarly and scientific issues or comparable consultancy in the field in which they are employed. Membership of the board of a company whose activities are related to the teacher’s field can also be regarded as an R&D outside activity within the meaning of the provision.
Pure teaching commissions are not regarded as research or development within the meaning of the provision, regardless of whether they fall within the teacher’s field or not.
An outside activity is not normally allowed to give rise to business transactions between Uppsala University and an employee (or the employee’s company). An outside activity must generally be kept separate from a person’s work as an employee. With regard to relatively time-consuming academic responsibilities, the requirement that the outside activity should be kept separate from the person’s work as an employee must be followed as far as possible given the nature of the responsibilities.
How to report an outside activity:
Any outside activity must be declared in advance and as soon as the employee concerned becomes aware of it. You do this in Primula, under My page/outside activity.
For all employees, it is enough to declare an outside activity once, as long as no significant changes occur in the outside activity or the person’s employment.
Further information: Guidelines for monitoring employees’ outside activities at Uppsala University (Goals and regulations of Uppsala University) Local collective agreement on the cadre of managers (swedish only) Swedish Agency for Government Employers publication on outside activities (swedish only)