Moonlighting

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    • Recently, the DXC Technology India MD said that the Moonlighting is only one challenge and that is not reason enough for a company to put an end to work from home that had proved to be beneficial for a large chunk of employees.
      • Wipro has recently sacked around 300 employees for ‘moonlighting’. 

    What is moonlighting?

    • The practice of working for one organisation 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 taking up secondary jobs after regular work hours. 
      • It is called so the side employment is 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. 

    Arguments against moonlighting

    • Unethical: 
      • Some call it unethical and call it cheating. 
    • Short-term gains: 
      • Employers lose out in the long run when rampant decisions are made for short-term gains.
    • No work life balance:
      • Working two jobs can be hectic and does not provide a proper work life balance. This can be a big disadvantage for people with a family as they won’t be able to give time to family members.
    • Increase in Stress levels:
      • Working two jobs will increase stress and stress lead to many health problems.
    • Conflict of interest:
      • Working for a competitor may put you in a difficult position at your full-time job.
    • Problems with performance:
      • Due to extra hours, less sleep and divided attention, your performance at your full-time job may slip and have a negative effect on your career.

    Arguments in favour of moonlighting 

    • Freedom of choice: 
      • Some argue that 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.
    •  Financial stability:
      • Some people work two jobs to have financial stability in life. It can be used to pay off debt, or to cover unforeseen expenses like car or house repairs.
    • Acquire New Skill:
      • A second job can help one acquire new skills. In addition, the skills and experience will improve your resume.
    • New opportunities:
      • Working a second job means one will cross paths with more people, learn new skills and face new challenges. This can open up new opportunities for people.

    Is moonlighting legal in India?

    • Factories Act:
      • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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. 
    • UK and USA
      • 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.

    Way Forward

    • Policy Formulation
      • Organisations should probably make a policy to allow workers to openly pursue multiple jobs at once.
    • Swiggy announced an “industry first” policy 
      • It allowed moonlighting for its employees.
      • It said 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.

    Source: TH