If a Federal employee is invited to participate in a focus group for a research study, during non-duty hours and is paid a stipend for their participation, is this considered a gift? If so, is the limit that they can accept as payment $20.
Been Several years and a couple of agencies ago, but I believe that the take on this at the time was:
If you are invited because of your affiliation with government, or you participate during duty hours then it is considered a gift and all applicable rules and regulations apply. Otherwise it is the same has any other “part time” job in that depending on the agency you might have to get approval to participate.