Woman deciding what type of outside employment she should consider

Outside Activities

Overview of the approval process and restrictions regarding Outside Activities for State officers and employees
Outside Activities

What is an outside activity?

An outside activity is generally an employment, business, or professional activity that is not related to your official State duties.  An outside activity may be an occupation, whether paid or unpaid, ownership of a business, membership on a board, volunteer work, or even a second job with the State.  An outside activity occurs outside of your regular work hours and without utilizing any government resources. 

All covered individuals – both policy makers1 and non-policy makers – should evaluate whether the intended outside activity is permissible under the rules of Public Officers Law §73 and is not a conflict of interest under the rules of Public Officers Law §74.

Prior to engaging in any outside activities, all covered individuals should seek advice from their agency Ethics Officer or JCOPE concerning the appropriateness of such activities under the applicable laws and regulation.   


1 Policy maker is a designation made by your agency. If you are not sure if you have been designated as a policy maker, contact your agency Ethics Officer.

Who is covered?

  • Statewide Elected Officials

  • Legislative members and employees

  • Officers and Employees of New York State agencies (including departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, and councils) (other than unpaid and per diem officers of such entities)

  • Members, directors, and employees of New York State public authorities and public benefit corporations (other than unpaid and per diem members and directors of such entities)

Approval procedure for Policy Makers

Policy makers may require approval from their agency alone, or from their agency and JCOPE, before pursuing an outside activity.  In general, the approval process is based on how much you anticipate earning through your intended outside activity.

Annual Compensation Threshold Amounts
  • Greater than $1,000 - Requires your agency approval 

  • Greater than $5,000 - Requires JCOPE approval as well as your agency's prior approval submitted via the Outside Activity Approval form. 


Approval Reference Chart


Outside Activity

Required Approvals / Actions

A job, employment (including public employment), or business venture that generates, or is expected to generate, between $1,000 and $5,000 in compensation annually

Approving Authority must approve

A job, employment (including public employment), or business venture that generates, or is expected to generate, more than $5,000 in compensation annually

Approving Authority and JCOPE must approve

Holding elected or appointed public office (regardless of compensation) as an outside activity

Approving Authority and JCOPE must approve

Serving as a director or officer of a for-profit entity (regardless of compensation)

Approving Authority and JCOPE must approve

Serving as a director or officer of a not-for-profit entity

è Compensation is $0 - $999 annually

Approval not required, but must notify Approving Authority in writing prior to  commencing service

è Compensation is between $1,000 and $5,000 annually

Approving Authority must approve

è Compensation is more than $5,000 annually

Approving Authority and JCOPE must approve


Providing goods or services to the State

State officers and employees who are also private business owners must follow the State's procurement process which requires public notice, competitive bidding, and the awarding of a contract if interested in providing goods or services to the State valued greater than $25.    Please refer to your agency guidelines prior to participating, as your agency may have stricter guidelines than what the regulations and Public Officers Law § 73 provides.

Political Activity Restrictions

Participation in political parties and committees

Policy makers, including those in an unpaid or per diem position, are prohibited from serving:

  • as an officer of any political party or political organization. (A political organization does not include campaign or fundraising committees.)

  • as a member of any political party committee. This prohibition covers, for example, serving as a political party district leader or a member of the national committee of a political party.  


Restrictions on influencing Legislation

State officers and employees are prohibited from receiving any compensation, in whatever form, for the rendering of consulting, representation, advisory, or other services in connection with any proposed or pending bill or resolution in the Senate or Assembly.

Prohibited Outside Activities

If you are interested in pursuing an outside activity before any State agency that includes any of the following, you may not be paid or receive compensation in any form.

  • The purchase, sale, rental, or lease of real  property, or goods or services;

  • Any proceeding relating to rate making;

  • The adoption or repeal of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law; 

  • The obtaining of grants of money or loans;

  • Licensing or permitting; or

  • Any proceeding relating to a franchise provided for in the Public Service Law.

Outside Activity Regulation and Approval form


    19 NYRCRR Part 932 - Outside Activities

    Regulation on the approval process for State officers and employees designated as policy makers to pursue outside employment or memberships in boards and other related activities other than their full time State employment.  



Ethics Reminders


    Ethics Reminder: Work or volunteer outside the office?

    The Joint Commission on Public Ethics periodically releases Ethics Reminders. Each reminder is a brief and easy to understand synopsis of the laws and rules under the Commission’s jurisdiction. Ethics Reminders are issued to assist those subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction in understanding and complying with their obligations under the law.



Contact The JCOPE Attorney of the Day

The Commission administers an "Attorney of the Day" program to help provide State officials and employees, lobbyists, and clients of lobbyists with free, confidential advice, both formal and informal, on navigating the State's ethics and lobbying laws. 

Contact us by phone:
Hotline - Press "2" to speak to the attorney of the day   800-87-ETHICS (873-8442)
Contact us by email:
Mailing Address:

New York State

Joint Commission on Public Ethics

540 Broadway 

Albany, New York 12207