Moonlighting has been a hot topic of debate among tech giants for some time now. Swiggy recently announced that its employees are allowed to take up other jobs in their hours away from work. Girish Menon, the head of human resources said that the goal of the company is to encourage employees to pursue their passion without any constraints due to their full-time employment at the startup. The company believes that the project will help in the personal and professional growth of the employees. Recently, it also announced a work from anywhere policy. Since the company released its policies, many tech giants have aired their views on moonlighting.
Sandeep Patel, IBM’s managing director termed moonlighting as unethical. He argues that when employees join the organization, it is mentioned in their agreements that they aren’t allowed to work anywhere else during their time at the company. Chairman of Wipro, Rishad Premji, terms moonlighting as cheating.
Infosys also told its employees that the company is strictly against moonlighting policy. Rishad Premji, recently, in a tweet said that there’s a lot of discussion about workers moonlighting in the IT industry and he considers it cheating- plain and simple.
Patel said that he shares Rishad’s position on the issue. In IBM, when people join the company, they have to sign an agreement which obliges them to work full time for the company only.
Meaning of Moonlighting
The practice of taking up a second job outside of regular employment. The practice is called moonlighting because people mostly work after their working hours or on their off days. They take up these part-time jobs to earn some extra money or work on something of their own. Many companies have a moonlighting policy in which terms and conditions of taking up a secondary job other than the employment at the company are laid out. Many IT companies are struggling to find talent as many employees don’t want to be bounded to one job.
In recent times, the concept has taken over headlines and many cases of moonlighting cases are revealed every day. Major tech companies are strictly against working two or more jobs at the same time as they believe that it negatively affects the productivity and quality of work of the employee. While some companies consider it unethical, others encourage their employees to take up side hustles.
Is it legal in India?
Moonlighting is illegal according to factory law but IT companies are sometimes exempted. It’s upon the employer if they would allow their workers to take up side hustles or not. Especially when it comes to developers, they want to create something of their outside employment. If the contract restricts moonlighting then it would breach the contract if the employee works a second job but if there’s no clause regarding the restrictions to one job only then it would not be illegal.
Reasons for taking up a second job
When companies discriminate against employees based on age, many older people become insecure about their current job as employers want young and energetic people whose productivity level is high. In this scenario, people above 50 might find it hard to get raises and their last resort is to take up another job. The unemployment level is high among older people. Such stereotypes force people to lose faith in their current job security.
Extra source of income
Sometimes people are just looking for an extra income stream. If they are in need of money and their regular job isn’t paying enough, people take up employment outside their regular work. In today’s world, everyone is looking to increase their income, people want to do as much as they can. This is one of the main reasons why people moonlight. People sometimes get trapped in debts and to pay them off they need that extra money.
Corporate jobs can sometimes become monotonous and highly creative people don’t prefer monotonous work but they might be doing it for income. In this case, they either take up something creative outside of their work to enhance their thinking ability and increase creativity. Some people work most efficiently when they have some time off the desk job to do the things that strike creativity.
Sometimes it’s just for the passion. The work might not align with what the person enjoys doing so they hustle to pursue their passion while doing a job. They have to do the job to support their endeavor and make a living at the same time. Somebody might like singing but they cannot leave their employment at the beginning because it essentially doesn’t pay much. Artists tend to follow their passion in the hours away from work.
The concept is a topic of debate amongst major tech companies and most of them are reminding their employees of the contract they’ve signed which mentions that no other job is allowed in any condition. As Swiggy provides liberty to its employees to take up gigs and other work, it has become a topic of concern for other businesses. People take up secondary jobs for multiple reasons, sometimes it’s just to change careers, they might not be feeling content in their current job or they may realize that their interests lie somewhere else. In that situation, they want to explore other industries or areas of work. It depends on the company whether it would allow its employee to take up side hustles or not.