Guide to the Regulations for sideline jobs and owner interests at UiO
Pertaining to Regulations for sideline jobs and owner interests at the University of Oslo, revised 3 September, 2013, and 3 May, 2018
Regulations in general
The purpose of the Regulations for sideline jobs and owner interests at the University of Oslo, which were adopted by the University Board on 12 September 2006 and revised 21 June, 2011, 3 September, 2013, and 3 May, 2018, is to protect the university's reputation and confidence in the integrity of the employees, by facilitating the transparency of potential conflicts of interest and how they are dealt with.
The regulations govern several matters:
Firstly, Sections 6 and 7 of the regulations stipulate that certain types of sideline jobs and owner interests are only permitted by written agreement with UiO. These provisions apply to all employees of UiO. In this guide, an account will be given of the considerations to which importance should be attached by whoever is responsible for determining whether consent should be granted.
Sections 6 and 7 also contain a reference to the rules in the Personnel Handbook for State Employees that ban employees from certain types of sideline jobs. If an employee has sideline jobs that can conceivably be affected by these bans, or owner interests that may entail that employees find themselves in such positions as are described in the appropriate provisions of the Personnel Handbook for State Employees, the regulations state that the employees shall clarify with UiO whether the concrete sideline job or owner interest is affected by the ban.
Secondly, the regulations require that specific categories of employees register sideline jobs and owner interests. Section 4 of the regulations govern what employees have such a registration duty. Section 5 regulates the scope of this registration duty in detail.
Thirdly, the regulations contain provisions concerning the publication of the employees’ sideline jobs and owner interests. The guide describes the considerations to which importance should be attached when assessing whether such publication may be omitted.
It is important to note that the employees' right to have sideline jobs and owner interests is not solely governed by UiO’s regulations. As a government enterprise, UiO’s employees are subject to the Ethical Guidelines for the Public Service and Basic Collective Agreement for the Civil Service. Both of these sets of rules contain rules about these matters. In addition, there are various other regulations that may place constraints on the employees’ right to undertake such tasks. UiO has, for example, its own ethical guidelines for the procurement of goods and services, and there are also ethical research guidelines for science and technology.
General principles for assessments
UiO is generally positive towards sideline jobs. Sideline jobs can contribute to the professional development of UiO employees, give employees practical experience and insight into the value to their innovative capabilities, and their ability to make university research and teaching relevant to the needs of society. Certain sideline jobs also represents professional recognition, or gives a special opportunity to give or receive impulses, which will strengthen UiO’s authority and the ability to assert itself in international competition. Moreover, some sideline jobs could contribute to profiling and legitimising the university's activities.
Banned sideline jobs work/owner interests
Both the Basic Collective Agreement and the Personnel Handbook for State Employees state that government employees are banned from having certain types of sideline jobs. Employees of UiO may not have such sideline jobs. UiO has applied these rules correspondingly to owner interests that have the same effect. If applications for the approval of such assignments, offices or owner interests are received, they must be rejected.
Sideline jobs or owner interests that require UiO’s prior consent
UiO has decided that certain types of sideline jobs and owner interests require UiO’s prior consent before an employee may undertake such tasks. This applies to the first sideline job that may in various ways be perceived as being in conflict with the university's need for confidence and integrity. Moreover, this applies to certain sideline jobs of such a nature or scope that it impedes or delays the employee's work at the university. Finally, this applies to sideline jobs where the employee is in doubt as to whether the sideline jobs is subject to the bans in the Personnel Handbook for State Employees.
It follows correspondingly from the rules that if an employee is in doubt as to whether the establishment of specific owner interest is in breach of the bans in the regulations, prior approval shall be sought.
The provision defines the terms sideline jobs and owner interests and thus establishes the scope of application for the regulations.
Section 4 of the regulations states that the regulations as such apply to all employees of UiO. This entails, for example, that the requirements for prior consent for certain types of sideline jobs and owner interests in Sections 6 and 7 apply to all employees.
The provision further states that the notification duty in accordance with Section 5 of the regulations only applies to
- Scientific staff, including research leaders.
- Other employees who have budget authority.
Administrative staff are only subject to a notification duty if they have budget authority.
The general principle in accordance with Section 5.1 is that all sideline jobs and owner interests must be reported. However, Sections 5.2 and 5.3 contain important exceptions to the notification duty for specific categories of sideline jobs and owner interests, respectively.
Section 5.2 regulates the exceptions to the notification duty for sideline jobs. A sideline job that is undoubtedly not in conflict with the employees’ obligations to UiO shall not be reported. This provision contains several examples of such sideline jobs. This list is not exhaustive.
One must bear in mind that sideline jobs that is in principle exempt from the notification duty may in some instances nevertheless require prior consent in accordance with Section 6. For example, external examiner activities are exempt from the notification duty. If the scope of these activities is very large, it may nevertheless require prior approval by UiO in accordance with Section 6 D. However, this will only apply in exceptional cases. Normally, sideline jobs that are exempt from the notification duty does not require approval in accordance with Section 6 either.
Section 5.3 regulates the exceptions to the notification duty for owner interests. The principle is the same for owner interests as sideline jobs – there is a notification duty unless the owner interest is undoubtedly not of importance to UiO’s activities.
The notification duty also applies to the employees’ sole proprietorships and interests in companies, including indirect ownership through sole proprietorships or companies.
As opposed to Section 5.2, Section 5.3 does not contain specific examples of owner interests that are undoubtedly of no importance to UiO’s activities, which do thus not entail any notification duty. In practice, however, there will be a wide variety of owner interests that are not subject to a notification duty. For example, shareholdings in publicly traded companies will generally fall outside the notification duty. The same applies to shareholdings or other forms of ownership that do not have any affiliation with what the employee works with or otherwise deals with at UiO.
Section 6.1 of the regulations states that certain forms of sideline jobs are not legal without the prior written consent of UiO. This provision applies to all employees at UiO.
For sideline jobs that are subject to this provision, it is in other words not sufficient for employees to report sideline jobs, consent in the form of a written agreement with UiO is also required. It is the responsibility of the individual employee to assess whether his/her sideline job is subject to the consent requirement. If an employee is in doubt, UiO should be contacted.
For more details on what sideline jobs are accepted, reference is made to the Recommendation from the Working Group for the Regulation of External Work (pdf) (Norwegian). A brief account of the individual sections in the regulations will be given below.
This provision requires an agreement for sideline jobs that entail the use of UiO’s resources beyond what can be deemed insignificant. Such resources may, for example, include equipment, laboratories, models, collections, databases or premises. If such sideline jobs are to be permitted, the sideline jobs should be of academic relevance to UiO and not displace UiO’s own activities. An agreement must be established on the terms and conditions for such use, including payment, which should normally be market-based.
This provision requires a sideline job agreement stipulating that the work should be performed in full or in part during normal working hours. If employees are to be permitted to spend more than an insignificant part of their working hours on sideline jobs, then this requires that their immediate superior does not find that the loss of working hours has a significantly negative impact on their performance.
For sideline jobs that exceed 20 per cent of the normal working hours, it should normally be required that the employees have balanced teaching accounts and qualified academic production or the equivalent, which are not lower than the faculty average, or that the sideline job is considered so valuable to UiO that it should nevertheless be permitted.
In addition, importance should be attached to when the sideline job is performed. It will, for example, be of importance whether performance of the work may make it difficult to carry out teaching plans etc.
This provision requires an agreement for any sideline job that may be in competition with UiO’s own activities.
A sideline job that involves cooperation with, or teaching at, other research or educational institutions is in principle desirable and can give UiO significantly positive values and impulses. If it is probable that such will directly weaken UiO’s ability to succeed with parallel projects in competition for research resources, allocations, prices and the like, or has any other significant negative impact on other adopted goals for UiO’s activities, it can nevertheless be denied.
A sideline job should be rejected if it impedes or substantially hampers UiO’s or Inven2’s (inven2.com) ongoing efforts to realise the commercial value of patents, intellectual property rights and other work results. Such commercialisation may include the provision of services, such as courses and analytical activities, as well as products and methods. When UiO decides to develop their activities or the utilisation of their rights in new areas, and this comes in clear conflict with existing, permitted sideline jobs, an assessment shall be made of whether the sideline jobs impact UiO’s competitive position or confidence in a way that means that the sideline jobs should be discontinued. Reference is also made to Section 1.1. of the Internal Guidelines for the Management of Activities Financed by Contributions and Commissioned Research at UiO (Norwegian), where it is noted that activities that are wholly or partially funded by external sources are to be organised internally at UiO as a rule.
This provision requires a sideline job agreement of a long-term or particularly comprehensive nature.
A fixed and long-term association with a single actor can create grounds for doubt with respect to the confidence and the integrity of the employees, due, among other things, to the fact that the employees may be influenced to be less open about absorbing new knowledge to the detriment of UiO.
UiO should be reserved about allowing permanent employment, partnerships, directorships or general or long-term agreements with actors who generally operate in the employee's field, with the exception of institutions that have a professional cooperation and shared employment agreement with UiO.
In some cases, the duration of the sideline job will be unclear when consent is granted. If it turns out later on that the sideline job will be more prolonged than initially assumed, Section 13 of the regulations for sideline jobs and owner interests may provide grounds for revoking consent.
This provision requires an agreement for a sideline job that may be suitable for creating doubt about the employee's willingness or ability to perform his/her work at UiO in the way that the position or purpose of the university requires.
Typical situations in which there may be doubts as to whether an employee's willingness to perform his/her work in accordance with the interests of UiO include sideline jobs where the principal has a clear or significant interest that can conceivably influence the outcome of the employee's ongoing scientific work at UiO.
Correspondingly, UiO should be cautious about allowing the same principal, employer or intermediary to repeatedly engage the employee for tasks that have a significant impact overall on the employee's private finances, in cases where the employee is in a position to influence the outcome of litigation, permits, allocations or other individual matters in favour of the principal, or where the work promotes the development of one competitor's product or service over that of other competitors.
There may be a gradual transition between matters that are subject to Section E and matters that are subject to the bans against having certain types of sideline jobs in Section 10.13.1 of the Personnel Handbook for State Employees (lovdata.no) (Norwegian), cf. below. For example, the Personnel Handbook for State Employees bans civil servants from sideline jobs that «entails that the civil servant could easily find him/herself in a conflict of loyalty in relation to the organisation where he/she is employed.» If a sideline job lies within this borderline region between the consent provisions in the regulations and the ban provisions in the Personnel Handbook for State Employees, then consent for the sideline job should not be granted.
Section 6.2 contains a reference to certain types of sideline jobs that UiO employees are banned from having in accordance with the rules stipulated in Section 10 13.1 of the Personnel Handbook for State Employees (lovdata.no) (Norwegian). The regulations state that if the employee wishes to undertake a sideline job and is in doubt whether such work is subject to the ban provisions in the Personnel Handbook for State Employees, then he/she shall request prior approval. If UiO finds that the sideline job is subject to a ban provision, consent for the sideline job may not be granted.
Section 7 of the regulations bans employees from having owner interests that entail that they are in one of the positions described in Section 10.13.1 of the Personnel Handbook for State Employees (lovdata.no) (Norwegian). It will in other words be forbidden for an employee to have owner interests that disqualify the civil servant more than just sporadically, mean that he/she can easily find him/herself in a conflict of loyalty in relation to the organisation in which he/she works at UiO, harm the reputation of UiO, etc. There are, in other words, parallels between the bans against sideline jobs and the bans against owner interests.
If the employee has any doubts about whether specific owner interest fall under one of the banned cases, the employee shall present this to UiO and ask whether the owner interests can be approved.
If UiO finds that such owner interests fall under one of the banned instances, the owner interests should not be approved. Otherwise, it should normally be approved.
Section 8, first paragraph regulates the obligation to report/apply for approval in connection with new employment at UiO. In the event of new employment, sideline jobs or owner interests subject to a notification duty shall be reported no later than one month after the start date. Normally, however, it would be natural for UiO to bring up this question already during the interview for the position. This is especially true of whether the applicant has sideline jobs or owner interests that require a special agreement with UiO.
Section 8, second paragraph governs the notification duty for employees who are already employed at UiO, and who subsequently undertake sideline jobs or owner interests subject to a notification duty. They shall report this as soon as possible. If the sideline job requires an agreement, the employee shall not undertake the sideline job before the agreement has been made. The same applies if the employee has doubts about whether owner interests are banned.
Section 10 regulates what information shall be stated in the notification of sideline jobs / application for approval of sideline jobs and notification of owner interests / application for approval of owner interests. This information will normally also be disclosed by the publicly available sideline jobs and owner interests register, unless some of the information is exempt from public disclosure in accordance with Section 15.
Section 11 of the regulations: UiO’s processing of notifications and applications for approval or exemption from public disclosure
This provision regulates UiO’s time limits for processing such applications and who will process the applications.
Section 12 of the regulations: Updating sideline jobs and owner interests and renewal of approval assessments
These provisions apply both to changes in sideline jobs or owner interests subject to a notification duty and changes in the employment relationship indicating a reassessment of registered sideline jobs or owner interests.
Moreover, the provision imposes an obligation on the employee to apply for renewed approval of sideline jobs / owner interests that require such approval, if any changes are made to sideline jobs / owner interests.
This provision regulates UiO’s right to revoke previously granted consent in accordance with Sections 6 or 7 of the regulations. It is stressed that such revocation can take place even if it will entail disadvantages or costs for the employee, who may have invested in confidence in granted consent.
These provisions safeguard the disclosure requirement in the General Data Protection Regulation.
Both sideline jobs and owner interests will in principle be published with the information that is mentioned in Section 10.
The employee may request that information be withheld from public access. UiO must then assess whether the Freedom of Information Act provides grounds for withholding the information in question from public access. Otherwise, the information will be published.
If UiO denies that the employee can have sideline jobs / owner interests, or requires possibly that this be discontinued, the decision may be appealed to the Sidenline Jobs and Owner Interests Board.
The decision to publish information on sideline jobs / owner interests may not be appealed by employees.