Hey, all you employees there! I hope you all are still enjoying working from home without any mishaps with your employers.
You must be wondering why I am saying this. It is because Twitter has been flooded with the term “employee moonlighting.”
One can misunderstand the term with some celestial activity, but those working in the Indian IT industry must be aware of the term.
Recently, Wipro fired 300 employees for moonlighting. Not only Wipro, but also Infosys, H&M, Facebook, and many more companies are laying off their staff.
These news stories have created a sensation among the workers in the IT industry. People everywhere are talking about this.
I am writing this blog to make people aware of the term “employee moonlighting.” So, let’s first understand the term “moonlighting.”
What Do You Mean By Moonlighting?
There is no definition of moonlighting in Indian employment law. Dual employment, which is a former employer-employee connection with legal obligations such as minimum salary, provident fund, and gratuity, is not necessarily moonlighting.
It may also include side jobs or freelance work, which may or may not be disclosed to the primary employer. When someone moonlights, they take on a second job or several jobs on top of their full-time job.
Working from home became common during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is thought to have made more people work more than one job. This has made moonlighting a topic of conversation in the IT industry.
Companies have resisted the practice, citing its negative impact on staff productivity. When it comes to employee moonlighting, though, Indian IT organizations are divided. Some consider it unethical, while others deem it an urgent necessity.
Opinions Of The Renowned Tech Giants Against Employee Moonlighting
The Chief Operating Officer (CFO) of Tata Consultancy Services, NG Subramaniam, has called employee moonlighting an ethical concern. Infosys has also told its workers not to take on a second job without telling the company first.
In one of the most recent emails from the HR department, Infosys emphasized that all employees must study their contracts before accepting other jobs. The company told its workers that they would lose their jobs if they took on a second job during or after work.
On September 15, IBM India’s director of operations, Sandip Patel, deemed moonlighting unethical. Meanwhile, Tech Mahindra’s Chief Executive Officer, CP Gurnani, stated that he might be receptive to the practice if it helps staff earn additional income.
Azeem Premji stated at an event that if you examine the meaning of moonlighting, it is having a second job in secret. It’s all about openness. Individuals in organizations can have very open dialogues as part of their commitment to transparency.
He also added that current employees working for rival firms constitute a “total violation of integrity” in its most fundamental form. Mohandas Pai opposes Premji’s view on the matter. A former Infosys director does not consider moonlighting “cheating.”
“Employment is a contract between me and an employer who compensates me for working ‘n’ hours each day for them.” “What I do after that time is entirely up to me; I may do whatever I want,” he said, according to Business Today.
There is a tweet I recently came across that depicts moonlighting in a very interesting manner. This tweet is a part of Jaspreet Bindra’s article on moonlighting. The image below is a thoughtful explanation of moonlighting and the opinions of tech leaders regarding it.
Is There Any Law Prohibiting Dual Employment?
There is no law prohibiting dual employment. Employees believe that in the absence of overtime compensation and regulation of employment contracts, IT employees have the right to disconnect from their principal job after the allotted work hours.
They can even engage in other projects for additional revenue, skill development, or other non-work-related pursuits. Swiggy previously declared an “industry first” policy permitting moonlighting to workers.
Swiggy said, “Employees can work on any project or activity outside of work hours or on the weekend that doesn’t hurt productivity and doesn’t put them in a position where they have to choose between two or more interests.”
If an employee’s contract requires non-competition and single employment, as with the vast majority of traditional employment contracts, moonlighting could be considered cheating. However, it is not cheating if contracts do not have such a clause.
What Are Businesses’ Concerns Regarding Moonlighting?
- Companies’ biggest worries regarding moonlighting include data and confidentiality breaches and productivity loss.
- If an employee works part-time in a similar business and position, they could end up giving away trade secrets.
- Employees need to know how important it is to protect the privacy of information that could help a competitor.
- A person who works long hours may become distracted, unproductive, and forgetful at work if they have a second job because they are too tired.
- Employees can use business resources for second employment, which increases operating costs.
- A second job may restrict the number of hours they are available to work for your firm, particularly for hourly employees.
- In some cases, the employee’s second job could cause a conflict of interest for your business.
Considerations On The Need For A Moonlighting Policy
The vast majority of employee moonlighting scenarios benefit both the employee and the employer. In certain circumstances, though, it may be necessary to adopt a moonlighting approach for your business. Consider creating a moonlighting policy if you observe any variables that diminish moonlighting employees’ work performance and output.
Strong moonlighting policies focus on outlining your expectations for employees while working for your organization, as opposed to limiting what they can do outside of work. For example, your policy on moonlighting may say that employees must be available during certain times of the week.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Employee Moonlighting
Does an employee have to disclose their side gig?
Depending on your moonlighting policy, your employees may or may not need to disclose that they have a second job. If your company doesn’t have a policy about moonlighting, your employees don’t have to tell you about any other jobs they have.
If your moonlighting policy requires employees to seek approval before beginning a second job, then your employees must tell you if they engage in a second job.
Can an employer prohibit an employee from doing a second job?
You cannot prevent an employee from working elsewhere if you don’t have a moonlighting policy or if your policy does exist and it doesn’t have an impact on the employee’s work.
Suppose you have a moonlighting policy that stipulates your employees must achieve particular requirements to continue working for you, and the moonlighting employee does not fulfill those standards. In that case, you can ask them to leave their second job.
Is moonlighting appropriate?
In most instances, moonlighting has no ethical issues. In general, a person who works multiple jobs can do so without harming themselves or the organization. However, certain situations may present an ethical dilemma.
Typically, this occurs when an employee does a similar job or function for a competitor. This could be stressful for the employee and cause one or both companies to share private information.
Numerous employees engage in moonlighting without incurring any negative consequences for themselves or their company. If you worry that your employees’ side jobs are getting in the way of their main jobs, you should create a moonlighting policy.