Moonlighting is a kind of practice when someone is taking up a second job during or outside the normal business hours of primary employment. However, in India, as per the Labour Law, if you are fully employed, you cannot have your own business or even work elsewhere.
Most private organizations also have policies that prohibit moonlighting and take strict action against employees who are taking up outside second jobs.
However, some firms do allow employees to work a second job, especially if they are on a contract basis. Recently, Swiggy has announced a new “moonlighting” policy for its delivery personnel, which allows its employees to take up gigs or projects outside of their regular employment at the company.
As per IT company, post-COVID-19 and the shift to remote working led to a rise in moonlighting practices.
India’s Top IT giants including TCS, Infosys, and Wipro have criticized the moonlighting practices and have termed it as ‘unethical’ and ‘cheating’.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
TCS has called Moonlighting an ethical issue. N Ganapathy Subramaniam, COO of Tata Consultancy Services said last month, “Moonlighting is an ethical issue, we need to inculcate the ethics and (idea of) being right and if we make something like this for short-term gains, in the long-term we will lose out.”
“If you look at it as a war, it is a war. Business is all about operating within constraints. The talent war happened because of two important reasons from my perspective during the pandemic 90 percent of the enterprises did not hire. Few organizations like TCS, we went and honoured everything, we kept hiring.” He added.
Recently, Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji termed moonlighting as Cheating. He said last month, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.”
There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.— Rishad Premji (@RishadPremji) August 20, 2022
However, Mohandas Pai, former Director of Infosys disagrees with Premji and said, “Moonlighting is not cheating. Employment is a contract between an employer who pays me for working for them for ‘n’ number of hours a day. Now what I do after that time is my freedom, I can do what I want.”
Last week, Infosys issued a letter to employees strictly prohibiting them from practicing moonlighting. The company said in the letter, “No two-timing, no moonlighting, and No double lives“
The company said that employees cannot take up other assignments during or outside business hours. The company has also added that any violation will lead to disciplinary action that could include termination of employment.
Infosys clearly stated in the offer letter, “You agree not to take employment, whether full-time or part-time as director/ partner/ member/ employee of any other organization/ entity engaged in any form of business activity without the consent of Infosys.”
“The consent may be given subject to any terms and conditions that the company may think fit and may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the company,” the mail from the company said.
However, Tech Mahindra has encouraged the recent trend and said that it is necessary to keep changing with the times. C P Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra said, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work,” he said in a tweet.
CP Gurnani stated it was “not rampant” and he added that his organization would probably “make a policy” to allow workers to openly pursue multiple jobs at once.
“If you want to do it, sure. But be open about it and share with us,” Gurnani further said.