Support Staff Policies & Procedures

Support Staff Outside Work for Pay Policy

Last updated 3/20/14.

The following policy was issued on June 24, 2013. 


The University recognizes that, through consulting and other relationships with government, industry, not-for-profit organizations and others outside the University, support staff employees can make valuable contributions off campus while enhancing their expertise.

This Policy is intended to protect the integrity of the support staff-University professional relationship, to ensure that approved outside work for pay is consistent with the University's mission, and to provide that support staff members remain accessible to perform the duties related to their MSU employment.


Outside Work
Any work performed for a person or entity other than Michigan State University which falls into the general area of expertise for which the support staff employee is employed by the University. Examples of work include, but are not limited to, consulting, advising, research, demonstrating, performing or outreach

Anything of value received in consideration for work (except reimbursement of expenses, indemnification, or insurance coverage for claims arising out of or occurring in connection with the work). Examples of pay include, but are not limited to, any salary, fee, honorarium, stock, stock option, monetary gift or contribution beyond actual expense, or the promise of any of these in the future. Work for any business or other for-profit enterprise owned or operated by a support staff employee or by his/her relative(s), shall be considered "pay" (whether or not the support staff employee receives anything of value in consideration for the work) because of the likelihood that the support staff employee's work will increase the value of the business or enterprise to the support staff employee's direct or indirect financial benefit

Policy Details:

Work outside the University is not prohibited, but it must not interfere with the performance of the duties and responsibilities of the University position, nor may it create a conflict of interest with the employee's assigned University responsibilities. A conflict of interest exists when an employee's financial interests or other opportunities for tangible personal benefit may compromise, or reasonably appear to compromise, the independence of judgment with which the employee performs his/her responsibilities at the University.

Limitations on Performing Outside Work for Pay

Employees must gain authorization to engage in outside work for pay prior to engaging in such work. Approval for the employee to engage in work outside the University is contingent on the employee's agreement with the following conditions:

  1. The work will not interfere with the performance of the support staff employee's University duties and the employee's primary commitment will continue to be his/her employment with Michigan State University.
  2. The work will not adversely affect the University's interests or cause the employee to violate University policies or regulations including the conflict of interest provisions contained in the MSU Employee Handbook.
  3. Employees shall not divert to outside work for pay research, consulting or teaching opportunities that might reasonably be offered to the University, nor may they knowingly participate in outside work for pay that might compete with the University's programs.
  4. All work outside of the employee's MSU job responsibilities will be completed on the employee's own time and not during his/her scheduled workday.
  5. MSU resources (including IT resources) will not be utilized to complete any work outside the University. MSU resources that are available to the general public may be used provided that they are used outside of scheduled working hours.
  6. Any time off required to complete work outside the University must be approved in advance in accordance with University and departmental procedures.
  7. The employee's MSU job responsibilities must continue to be completed accurately and on schedule. If the outside work interferes with the performance of the employee's duties and responsibilities, approval to engage in the outside work will be terminated and the employee may be subjected to discipline pursuant to the Support Staff Rules Governing Personal Conduct of Employees.
  8. The employee will clearly communicate to the non-MSU employer that (a) he/she is acting in his/her own individual capacities and not on behalf of the University and that (b) the University does not endorse, sponsor or support the outside work. Nothing may be used in outside work that could indicate or imply involvement or endorsement of MSU in the outside work. Examples include, but are not limited to, use of University or departmental letterhead (paper or electronic), MSU websites or MSU-associated Internet domains (i.e., 
  9. If the employee utilizes any other MSU employee to complete the work outside the University, it must be clearly communicated to that employee that the outside work will have no impact on the employee's job at MSU, including raises, assignments or performance evaluations.


Outside work for pay is not covered under the University's Indemnification Policy or its Travel Accident Plan.


a.   Employee:

  1. The employee must request and obtain the written approval of his/her immediate supervisor, and designated unit administrator before engaging in outside work for pay by completing the Outside Work for Pay Authorization Form.
  2. The involvement of University students or staff (especially those for whom the support staff employee has oversight responsibilities) in an employee's outside work for pay must be disclosed on the "Outside Work for Pay Authorization Form" and must be approved in advance.
  3. The employee must notify his/her supervisor of any changes in the outside work being performed.

b.   Supervisor/Designated Unit Administrator:

  1. University administrators to whom the Authorization Form is submitted may seek additional information or clarification from the support staff employee regarding the proposed outside work for pay.
  2. The university administrator shall review the request and determine if any conflict of interest exists.
  3. In situations where a conflict of interest exists, the university administrator will identify conditions or restrictions that will manage, reduce or eliminate the conflict if possible.
  4. If an employee seeks to use intellectual property owned by the University in outside work for pay, the unit administrator must consult with MSU Technologies before the outside work for pay may be approved or performed. The purposes of this consultation are to avoid violation of third party licenses, to prevent loss of patent rights through premature public disclosure and to preserve the rights of other authors or inventors and the University.
  5. If a support staff employee seeks to use MSU-specific information or data in outside work for pay, the unit administrator must consult with the Office of Employee Relations before the outside work for pay may be approved or performed. The MSU Institutional Data Policy governs the use of institutional data and regulates its use in outside work for pay. Confidential data shall not be used in outside work for pay.
  6. University administrators shall process completed Authorization Forms in a timely fashion.
  7. If a request to engage in outside work for pay is denied, the unit administrator shall provide the employee with written reasons for the denial.
  8. The Authorization Form shall be completed annually and maintained in the department file for at least three years following the completion of the outside work.
  9. The decision to approve outside work for pay may be reversed at any time the University considers such action to be advisable. Written reasons for the decision to terminate approval will be provided to the employee by his/her unit administrator.


There are no exceptions to this policy.


Violations of this Policy shall be regarded as cause for disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

When involvement in outside work for pay interferes with an employee's performance of his/her University duties, the employee's supervisor or unit administrator may discipline the employee in accordance with the Support Staff Rules Governing Personal Conduct of Employees.

Individual colleges or other units may establish guidelines and impose reporting requirements for outside work for pay in addition to those set forth in this Policy.

Additional Resources:

Outside Work for Pay Authorization Form

Acceptable Use Policy for MSU Information Technology Resources

MSU Institutional Data Policy

Support Staff Employee Handbook

Support Staff Rules Governing Personal Conduct of Employees

Contact Information:

If you have questions or need additional information please contact the Office of Employee Relations at 517-353-5510 or


Issued: 6/24/2013

Updated: 3/20/14; moved policy into template format, clarified policy details, time off requests and university administrator approval information

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