Work is an important part of people’s lives. It means more than just getting paid. It means being able to make your own choices about how you want to live your life. When people get jobs, they get money. When people get money for their hard work and efforts they feel happy. They start spending time with family and relatives. They start participating in social development activities. But, when the need turns into greed or when people can’t lead a life with a single source of income, they tend to choose other paths which will facilitate them to have a better life.
One among such other paths is Moonlighting. The practice of working for one organization while also taking up extra responsibilities and jobs, typically without the employer’s knowledge, is referred to as Moonlighting. It refers to the practice of working a second job outside normal business hours. Therefore, an employee may work a normal 9-to-5 job as a primary source of income but work nights at a different job to earn extra money. It is also called side employment, typically performed at night or on the weekends. The phrase became well-known when Americans began looking for second jobs in addition to their regular 9-to-5 jobs to supplement their income. Moonlighting or taking up another assignment from another employer, either part- or full-time, is not a new phenomenon, but the remote work arrangement preferred by the Indian IT sector has helped employees take up this option in larger numbers. Employees are cashing in on higher demand for skilled talent.
The legality of Moonlighting in India:
The legislation in India does not entirely ban moonlighting, several laws mention multiple works. The Factories Act of 1948 forbids the double employment of adult workers in factories in Section 60. However, organizations that don’t operate factories are exempt from their anti-double employment regulations.
Related legislations in India:
· Section 65 of the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act, 1948:
Restriction on double employment on a holiday or during leave. No employee shall work in any establishment, nor shall any employer knowingly permit an employee to work in any establishment.
· Industrial Employment standing order Act, 1946:
Employers in industrial establishments are required by this Act to clearly define the terms of employment and submit proposal standing orders to the certification Authority for certification.
· Section 9 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954:
Restriction on double employment. -No person shall work about the business of an establishment or two or more establishments or an establishment and a factory over the period during which he may be lawfully employed under this Act.
Moonlighting, which is called dual employment in India, is technically permissible in the US and the UK from a tax perspective. A person may work more than one job in India without breaking the law. However, a person with a similar set of jobs could give rise to concerns about a violation of confidentiality because many employers include such restrictions in their employment agreements in addition to prohibitions against holding down multiple jobs. It could be considered cheating if an employee’s contract calls for non-compete and single employment, which is the situation with the majority of conventional employment contracts. However, it is not cheating if the employment contracts do not have such a clause or provide relaxations.
What might be the reasons for Moonlighting?
- Lack of acknowledgment for the work done.
- Exploring new skills for different job profiles.
- Spirit to build the network.
- Being experimental and creative.
- To achieve financial independence.
- Insufficient salaries and incentives to meet the standards of life.
- Continuous inflation in the economy.
- The recent pandemic and the boredom during the lockdown in the country.
- The raise of start-up culture in the industry.
- Fear of missing out on an opportunity.
- Quiet firing by employers.
- Mass layoffs and Hire-freezing.
The Major Corporates on Moonlighting:
- Tech Mahindra – C P Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer expressed support for the idea of moonlighting and said he could consider it for his staff. He expressed support for allowing staff to take on extra work. If given the opportunity, he said he might make moonlighting a business policy, but employees should be upfront about it. . On his Twitter, he said that it is important to adapt to the times
- Tata Consultancy Services – N Ganapathy Subramaniam, the Executive Director, and Chief Operating Officer claimed that moonlighting is unethical and that the IT sector will ultimately suffer. In his words, “Moonlighting is an ethical issue; we need to instill the ethics and (concept of) doing what is right, and if we do something like this for short-term profits, we will lose out in the long run.”
- Infosys – Kris Gopalakrishnan, The Co-founder claimed that in order to earn the trust of their employer and to fully focus on the project at hand, people should only work for one company. Employees were informed by Infosys in an email with the subject line “No Double Lives” that moonlighting was against the company’s code of conduct and might result in dismissal.
- Swiggy – Employees are free to take on any job or activity that can be completed after hours or on the weekend without affecting their productivity or posing a conflict of interest with the regular job.
- Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate – President Harpreet Saluja says “Many IT companies have developed monitoring systems to measure employee’s productivity. Employees have a contract to work with Infosys for 9 hours only. What the employees do outside working hours is their prerogative. Article 21 of the Constitution of India has provided the Right to livelihood to every citizen hence such emails sent to the employees are illegal and unethical”.
Cases on Dual Employment:
- In Gulbahar v. Presiding Officer Industrial Tribunal (2016), the Punjab Haryana High Court confirmed the petitioner’s dismissal on the grounds of dual employment.
- In Metso Paper (India) Pvt Ltd vs. Mr. V. Gokulakrishnan, a Delhi District court backed the termination of the employee who held two jobs in 2019.
- In Lupin Ltd vs Shri. Satyendra Yadav and Anr, Bombay High Court held that respondent engaged in dual employment without permission of the petitioner company was illegal.
After considering all the intricacies and technicalities involved in this act, it is up to the employees who want to take up this risk and face the unexpected consequences. As the labor laws in India stay silent on this matter, we can suggest that lawmakers create proper legislation that addresses the issue of moonlighting in every sector. Employers should make sure that their employment rules, as well as their documents such as the employee Contract and IT, are crystal clear about the company’s position on the same. Before looking for side jobs or starting a business, it is crucial for employees to carefully check their Employment Contract with their principal job to ensure compliance with any Moonlighting Policies.
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Article by Anagha K Bharadwaj