Employees are free to work multiple jobs, both within and outside the District government, unless those jobs create or give the appearance of a conflict of interest, or if the jobs expose the District to overtime liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This issuance clarifies the District’s stance on dual and outside employment and gives guidance on determining when a second job is prohibited.
NOTE: This issuance was initially published on January 22, 2021 and updated on June 10, 2021 to clarify that when a second job creates an overtime obligation for the District government, the agency for the second job must agree to pay the overtime before DCHR may approve the second job.
Holding a Second Job with Another Employer
Employees may usually hold a second job with another employer. However, as stewards of the public trust, we are held to high ethical conduct standards. For this reason, employees may not hold a second job with another employer when that job creates an actual or perceived conflict of interest.
Employees are prohibited from holding outside employment when working for that employer:
- Creates a conflict interest between the employee’s governmental duties and the outside employment; or
- Interferes with the employee’s ability to carry out their official District government duties.
Conflict of Interest
An employee works as a food safety and hygiene inspector for DC Health. The employee would like to work for a coffee shop. If the employee’s duties include inspecting food safety at the coffee shop location where the employee wants to work, this would create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest between the employee’s inspection duties and the employee’s work at the coffee shop. In this case, the outside employment would likely be prohibited.
Interference with Official Duties
An employee is scheduled to work for her agency from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The employee teleworks most days. The employee wants to earn extra money by working for a grocery delivery service, which will require the employee to deliver groceries during their regular tour of duty. This interferes with the employee’s regular duties and the employee is prohibited from working for the District government and the grocery delivery service.
Working While on Leave
Provided the second job does not create a conflict, employees may generally work a job with another employer while on approved annual leave even if the hours of employment of the second job coincide with the employee’s regular work schedule for the District government. However, regularly using leave to attend to the second job is likely prohibited because such frequent absences are likely to interfere with the District employee's performance of their governmental duties.
Restrictions When Working for Another Employer
While an employee may work for a second employer, there are some activities that are prohibited while working for that employer. These activities include, but are not limited to:
- Maintaining financial or economic interest in or serving (with or without compensation) as an officer or director of an outside entity if there is any likelihood that such entity might be involved in an official government action or decision taken or recommended by the employee;
- Engaging in any outside employment, private business activity, or interest which permits an employee, or others, to capitalize on their official title or position;
- Engaging in any outside employment, private business activity, or other interest which might impair an employee's mental or physical capacity to such an extent that they can no longer carry out their duties and responsibilities as a government employee in a proper and efficient manner;
- Serving in a representative capacity or as an agent or attorney for any outside entity involving any matter before the District of Columbia, except as permitted by law; or
- Engaging in any outside employment, private business activity, or other interest that violates federal or District law.
Holding More Than One District Government Job
Unless specifically authorized, a District government employee is prohibited from holding a second District government position if the employee would receive pay from two or more government positions for more than 40 hours in one calendar week. To request authorization, employees must submit a Dual Employment Authorization Request.
Employees may hold a second District government job without regard to the above 40 hours per workweek restriction when:
- The agency for the second job agrees to cover any overtime required under the Fair Labor Standards Act, District regulation, or labor agreement; and
- The second job is:
- Intermittent employment as a teacher in the Department of Corrections;
- Employment as a DCPS teacher in a position during the summer vacation period;
- Full-time, part-time, or intermittent employment for a 90 days or less as a referee, umpire, swimming pool guard or attendant, gymnasium or playground supervisor, or other special employee necessary to carry out the recreation program in the Department of Parks and Recreation;
- Part-time or intermittent employment as a counselor or monitor in connection with summer youth opportunity programs in the District government;
- Part-time or intermittent employment as an instructor, teacher, or professor at the University of the District of Columbia; or
- Temporary or intermittent employment for services performed due to emergencies resulting from natural disasters or similar unforeseen events or circumstances.
Agency heads shall ensure compliance with the provisions of this issuance and should refer any incidents or violations that warrant investigation to the D.C. Department of Human Resources.
The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) helps District government employees determine whether engaging in an outside job may be prohibited or create a conflict of interest.
Before working an outside job, you should submit a formal request for an advisory opinion to BEGA. BEGA’s advisory opinion may provide a “safe harbor.” This means that BEGA will take no enforcement action against an employee for their outside employment if the employee fully and accurately discloses all relevant circumstances and information in seeking the advisory opinion, and the employee complies with the terms of the advisory opinion. For more information about formal advisory opinions, please visit https://bega.dc.gov/service/ethics-advice.
This issuance applies to all District government employees.
Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 22, 2021, 4:22 p.m.