Various questions and opinions have been doing rounds amid the ongoing discussions and debates around the concept of moonlighting after the IT firm Wipro fired over 300 employees and its chairman Mr. Rishad Premji raised the issue in a tweet comparing it to “cheating”.
Before you form your opinion regarding the same, it is crucial to understand what exactly moonlighting is.
Moonlighting is the practice of working multiple jobs outside of one's primary employment. The term refers to the practice of working for other organizations typically without the knowledge of the primary employer.
Most businesses dispute this strategy, arguing that having employees perform many activities might lower productivity. Moonlighting has been discussed in the IT business since working from home became the norm during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is considered to have increased multiple employment.
If an employee's contract stipulates non-compete and exclusive employment, as is the case with the majority of traditional employment contracts, moonlighting could be regarded as cheating. However, if the employment contracts do not contain this provision or offer exceptions, it is not considered to be cheating.
Legal experts and HR professionals concur that courts have previously allowed companies to fire workers who are discovered to be moonlighting. Under the Factories Act, double employment is prohibited. However, in some states, IT businesses are exempt from that rule.
Infosys, a large IT company, has warned its staff members against taking a second job without first alerting the employer. In one of the emails the HR department recently addressed to staff members, Infosys urged all of its employees to read their employment contracts before accepting a different job. In fact, the company warned employees that they ran the possibility of being fired if they took a second job during or after working hours.
Swiggy, a food tech firm, was the first business to formally publish a policy enabling its workers to work on projects or jobs outside of their normal employment at the business during their free time.
The problem is not limited to Indian IT enterprises; the concept of moonlighting is quite prevalent in other nations as well when workers are attempting to augment their income with projects outside of their profession.