- Moonlighting is the practice of working a second job the night after regular 9-5 working hours.
- Many techies are moonlighting due to low salaries, freedom in a work-from-home environment and funding for their startups.
- Infosys released an email via HR that discourages such dual employment and threatens termination if found guilty.
What is moonlighting?
In the simple sense of the term, moonlighting refers to having a second or side job in addition to one’s regular 9-5 employment. This secondary job is taken without employers’ knowledge. It is usually the side jobs taken at night or on the weekends, hence the name “moon-lighting”.
Why are techies moonlighting?
There have been instances reported where even high-paid techies are moonlighting. The reasons for the same have been discussed in a recent Reddit thread.
Some users feel that the remote work revolution brought on by the pandemic is to be blamed. With more time on their hands, and the lack of constant supervision that comes with working out of an office, techies turned to moonlighting as an additional source of income.
Also, techies with higher salaries are subjected to higher tax deductions which lead to them turning to moonlighting.
Many techies are also moonlighting beyond their work hours to realise their dream of building their startups. A famous example is that of Flipkart itself. Founded in October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Flipkart was born while the founders were working at Amazon.
Insufficient salaries and rising inflation continue to dominate as irreplaceable causes of moonlighting.
Infosys cracks down
Information technology giant Infosys tightened the reins on its employees as it warned current workers against moonlighting.
In an internal post, the company has told its employees that such activities will lead to termination of the contract immediately for the alleged practitioner. “Remember – NO TWO-TIMING – NO MOONLIGHTING,” the email sent by HR reads.
In the internal communication, Infosys said that dual employment is not permitted as per the Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct.
Also, the tech firm highlighted the portion of the offer letter which is given to confirmed candidates for a position stating that employees are not allowed to take up roles in other firms without Infosys’ permission.
Is moonlighting illegal in India?
In India, a person may take up one more job without breaking any law. However, in some states, IT firms are exempted from that rule.
According to the Factories Act, dual employment is illegal. A majority of companies include single employment clauses in employee contracts. So in future, employees should carefully check their employment contracts before taking up multiple jobs.
According to the law, a person working two or more similar sets of jobs can be implicated and hence in such a situation, moonlighting can be considered cheating.
Is moonlighting an ethical practice?
The IT sector has divided views over the ethics surrounding moonlighting. A major concern is the creation of a conflict of interest when an IT worker joins a job in a rival firm. In simple terms, the worker might leak precious information to and fro between workplaces thus ultimately leading to financial losses.
On August 20, Wipro chairman Rishad Premji proclaimed his views on the matter of practising dual employment, calling it “plain and simple cheating”.
Tech Mahindra’s chief executive officer (CEO) CP Gurnami recently tweeted that it is necessary to keep changing with the times. “I welcome disruption in the ways we work”, proving his acceptance for moonlighting.
On the other hand, former director of Infosys Mohandas Pai dissected the reason behind rising instances of moonlight. He said low entry-level salaries in tech industries led to the birth of moonlighting.
He feels that if undertaking multiple jobs is the need of the hour to accommodate the daily requirements of IT workers, then moonlighting may be an attractive and necessary avenue.
Contrary to the common opinion against moonlighting in the tech sector, Swiggy also introduced a moonlighting policy in August.
The company said employees can take up external projects for free or for economic consideration. In case of a conflict of interest or the project interfering with their Swiggy duties, it will have to go through an approval process.