Published on: September 28, 2022



Why in news?

Wipro Ltd. has sacked some 300 employees for ‘moonlighting’ as the IT services firm toughens its stand against staffers taking a second job after work hours.

What is moonlighting?

Did you know??

·         Swiggy earlier announced an “industry first” policy that allowed moonlighting for its employees. “Any project or activity that is taken up outside office hours or on the weekend, without affecting productivity, and does not have a conflict of interest, can be picked up by the employees

Moonlighting refers to a side job in addition to one’s primary employment. In moonlighting, often such side jobs are taken by employees in secret, without informing the employer.

Why do people moonlight?

  • The main reason for going above and beyond an existing job is earning more money. Additionally, working in a different role can allow a person to develop new skills, explore related domains and connect with more people.

Problems associated with Moonlighting:

  • Will affect productivity,
  • Lead to conflicts of interest
  • Possible data breaches.

Why are IT companies against it?

·         Most new-age businesses are IP, know-how and data-driven, and there is always a risk of data and knowledge drain, specifically when the moonlighting is done for competing companies. Also, there is a concern that employees could be working for side jobs during office hours while working from home.

Is moonlighting ethical?

·         The IT sector is divided when it comes to moonlighting. Some call it unethical while others believe it is the need of the hour.

  • Moonlighting 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.
  • Under the Factories Act, dual employment is prohibited. However, in some states, IT companies are exempt from that rule. 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.

Is moonlighting legal in India?

  • Overemployment, which is called dual employment in India, is technically permissible in the US and the UK from a tax perspective. A second employment in the UK could alter a worker’s tax status, but it wouldn’t be expressly noted as such to the payroll department of the first employer and would probably go unreported in larger organisations. The US tax system is simpler since it is built on the idea of self-assessment and voluntary reporting.
  • 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.

Point to ponder:

Do you think moonlighting projects have existed for long and that it’s time we embrace them? Will such projects will enable productivity and creativity for the employees? Or do you think moonlighting is an unethical practice or “cheating?”