Private and professional work policy for academic staff
(other than joint UCT/Provincial or UCT/NHLS staff)
Policy | Definitions | General provisions | Private work | Professional work for a third party | Contracts between UCT and third parties | Professional work as part of a staff member's output | Specific provisions
The first obligation of full-time academic staff is to meet their university duties (teaching duties research, extension and related work).
That said, the University at its discretion permits full-time academic staff to engage in professional work for third parties and in private work, under circumstances and subject to conditions it specifies from time to time, because it recognises the importance of this, especially where, as is often the case, it has the potential to contribute to the quality of teaching and research.
For the purpose of this policy we define -
- private work to mean work done outside the campuses of UCT and outside the ambit of the University, unrelated to the professional role of the staff member at UCT, which does not require usage of any UCT facilities or equipment and which does not involve him/her in employing a UCT staff member who reports to him/her directly or indirectly; (An example of such work would be the hypothetical case of a member of academic staff in the Science Faculty who chooses to play in a jazz band using his/her own instruments and who is remunerated for doing so. Another example would be the hypothetical case of a senior lecturer in accounting doing the basic books of a corner café in his own (private) time; such work is not at the professional level expected of a Senior Lecturer in accounting and for that reason is private work.) and
- professional work for a third party to mean any work undertaken for a third party (a third party to include the individual's own company or close corporation) related to, or relying upon, the professional capacity or the professional qualifications of the staff member.
As the interests of the University must be protected a full-time member of staff may not engage in any private work or professional work for a third party (paid or voluntary) that conflicts with the interests of the University or the performance of his/her obligations as a member of staff; in particular, it must not detract from the performance of his or her teaching obligations or contributions to scholarship through research.
A full-time member of the academic staff does not require prior permission to do private work (as defined above) that does not involve a conflict of interest or detract from his/her duties, but must inform his/her line manager (HOD or Dean or DVC) in writing of the nature and extent of all private work he/she undertakes.
Any professional work for a third party, and any work for a third party, that is not covered by the above definition of private work, for pay, reward or not, undertaken by a member of the academic staff must either:
- be undertaken as a properly priced contract between UCT and third party; or
- have the prior written permission of the staff member's line manager (HOD or Dean or DVC) if it is a private contract between the staff member and the third party. The line manager must satisfy himself/herself that the work proposed does not constitute a conflict of interest and that it will not have an undue effect on the duties directly associated with the staff member's appointment.
Cost recovery of a private contract must be on the basis that:
- the contract is costed on the basis of direct and overhead cost recovery guidelines;
- the contract is priced in the knowledge of such costs (which, inter alia, means that it could be priced well below the cost); and
- the recovery is on the basis of the direct and overhead costs included in the price; and
- the contract defines intellectual property rights and is priced accordingly.
If undertaken as a UCT contract, the staff member is covered by UCT professional insurance and UCT is responsible for invoicing and debt collection. If undertaken as a private contract, the staff member is responsible for invoicing, no insurance cover is provided and the staff member is responsible for meeting all tax commitments.
The line manager (HOD or Dean) must approve the cost recovery proposal for any private contract. Any direct costs associated with such a contract must be recovered on this basis.
Any such contract must be costed using the principle of full cost recovery applicable to research contracts. The price of the contract must be set on the basis of the direct and overhead cost recovery guidelines applicable to the faculty concerned. Direct and overhead costs are the first charge against the income derived from the contract. Any such contract may contain provisions for additional payments to one or any of the staff (or students) working on the contract. Such payments must be made through the payroll system, and are a second charge against revenue derived from the contract.
Where there is a surplus of revenue:
- and the Principal Investigator (i.e. the person responsible for the performance of the contract) has research as part of his/her position description, the surplus will be credited to a fund over which he/she will have decision rights, for the sole purpose of meeting expenditure incurred in prosecuting research, under the standard rules applicable to research funds (including payment of salaries to people engaged in the research, but not to himself/herself and/or family members, and that all salary payments are made via the payroll system);
- in other cases, in the case of an academic department, the surplus must be credited at the discretion of the Head of Department to a departmental operating fund, or an existing research fund over which the Head of Department or a researcher in the department has decision rights; or;
- in other cases, the case of a PASS department, the surplus must be credited at the discretion of the Head of Department to a departmental operating fund, or an existing special purposes fund over which the Head of Department or a member in the department has decision rights.
Revenue from cost recovery will be dealt with in the same way as revenue from cost recovery from research contracts.
The outputs of professional work for a third party, or in the context of a contract between UCT and a third party, will be recognised in performance management and ad hominem promotion. They will be regarded as part of the staff member's teaching, research or outreach activities, because such work should yield outputs that will be recognised as being of academic merit where its evaluation as such will be by the ordinary process of peer review.
It is recorded for completeness that individual staff do not have the legal capacity to conclude (agree or sign) contracts with third parties on behalf of UCT, and that an explicit Council decision is needed to this.
Any failure to comply with any of the requirements of this policy will be deemed to constitute a material breach of employment conditions; without limiting the generality of this any of the following would constitute a material breach -
- the failure to report private work fully, accurately, or timeously;
- solicitation or acceptance of paid work which might otherwise have been undertaken by the staff member is his or her capacity as a staff member;
- undertaking professional work for a third party without having sought line management's consent; or
- committing time or effort, or according undue priority to private work, or to professional work for a third party, to the detriment of the University and/or to his/her teaching, research or other obligations.
Amended as requested by Council
25 October 2004
Page last updated: 4 July 2011