In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, people received an opportunity to push themselves a little more and work extra, to keep themselves busy or cope with their financial issues. On the other hand, it gave rise to the new term called “moonlighting”. It soon became a relevant term for almost every professional aspiring to weigh his or her pocket a little more. This resulted in the companies facing the brunt. These concerns can be reflected in recent news from the IT sector.
Moonlighting can get you fired from your company
The Indian Multinational Corporation serving Information Technology (IT) sector, Wipro fired its 300 employees recently. Chairman Rashid Premji said that the company took this decision after finding out that its employees were working with one of its competitors.
At the All India Management Association’s (AIMA) National Management Convention, Premji opined, “The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that.” He also included that their employment had been terminated under “act of integrity violation.”
There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.
Apart from this, Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani tweeted that it is necessary to keep changing with the times. The tweet included, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work.” Meanwhile, Infosys also called out for its message of “No two timing – no moonlighting!” “The company made it clear that “dual employment is not permitted as per…Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct.”|
My thoughts on the trending 'M word'… It's necessary to keep changing with the times, and as always, I welcome disruption in the ways we work https://t.co/Y23oohAvDm
Evidently, moonlighting has become a serious issue, especially in the IT sector. In light to grab a bigger pie, employees often end up taking their full-time job for granted.
The pandemic came rushing, resulting in the prevalence of work from home culture for a major part of the population. It surged the cases of moonlighting as it has now become easier for the employees to work for a second job without their primary manager’s knowledge. In the year 2020, when the people were forced under lockdown, the economy faced a halt leading to a huge wave of employee layoffs. The insecurity of people losing their jobs led them to work for multiple jobs and maintain a steady flow of income. It was reported that about 70 per cent of remote workers work a second job.
Initially, there were various companies who hired employees in bulk and gave them opportunity to earn during the unprecedented pandemic. However, this eventually became a reason for burgeoning cases of moonlighting.
While condemning the increasing cases of moonlighting, its aptly important to understand the elements that it refers to.
The practice of working for one organisation while also taking up extra responsibilities or jobs, without the employer’s knowledge, is considered as moonlighting. At times, it is also called as side employment, typically carried out at night or during weekends. It is majorly done to supplement income.
Additionally, in case of job dissatisfaction where employees are unhappy with their job profile, they may consider a second job to hone additional skills or indulge in work profiles they are more passionate about. Other than that, to pay off some debts, to add to their savings and investments, workers opt for moonlighting.
According to Factories Act, Section 60, there is a restriction on dual employment in India. It is also mentioned in the Shops and Establishments Act. However, each state has its own acts and rules which may change from state to state. In most cases, IT companies have been exempted from some sections of the acts, including dual employment.
Many companies deploy various tools and techniques to detect and prevent risks associated with moonlighting such as data leakage and daylighting. These techniques result in reporting of red flags that highlights employees that may be exhibiting behaviours of moonlighting and show indication of data leakage or abuse of intellectual property of the company.
Moonlighting could be considered as cheating if an employee’s contract calls for single employment, which is the situation with the majority of conventional employment contracts. On the other hand, it will not be called cheating if the employment contracts do not have such a clause or provide relaxations.
Interestingly, companies have barred their employees from doing any sort of activity like this. The majority of IT firms have strengthened their opposition to moonlighting. They have also threatened to fire employees who are found to be working two jobs. As it is also believed by various industry professionals that activities like moonlighting is clearly a cheating on the fate of organisations. Additionally, it won’t be wrong to consider it as complete violation of company’s integrity.
Apart from this, working for extra hours ultimately results in reduced productivity. It can also cause stress and health related issues that will affect the usual responsibilities of an employee. Further, with reduced efficiency in the work, it can cause a career risk to workers.
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