Is moonlighting lawful or ethical?

Safalta Expert Published by: Gaurav Bawa Updated Tue, 01 Nov 2022 10:12 PM IST

Highlights

Working a hidden job, especially at night, is referred to as "moonlighting."

 Recently the decision of one of the leading IT Firms to fire about 300 employees for Moonlighting has attracted attraction of cooperate world towards it.  As Services sector is the leading employee in India with approx 55% of the  GDP related to services. COVID 19 and the culture of work form home have made Moonlighting prominent. There are various benefits and disadvantages from ethical perspective and economic perspectives, that may be important for sound principle-based business development. In order to know the ethical dimensions of the practice we must first know the meaning and types of Mooonligting, Then we will go on to analyse the practice. The space below will answer all your curiosity related to whether Mooonligting is ethical of unethical. 
 

What exactly is moonlighting?

Moonlighting is the practice of doing a second job after regular business hours.

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Typically, as part of moonlighting, an individual may work with another firm, generally in the evening/night to augment his/her income in addition to a normal 9 to 5 job as the main source of revenue.

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Table of Content 

What exactly is moonlighting?
Different kinds of moonlighting
What are the benefits of moonlighting?
Why has moonlighting recently been in the news?
Is moonlighting ethical?
The Indian IT Minister's Position on Moonlighting
Why are so many IT businesses opposed to the phenomenon of moonlighting?
Is moonlighting lawful or illegal?
Daylighting, Silent Quitting, and Quiet Firing are all terms that are used interchangeably.
Suggestions about how to improve the situation
Conclusion
 

How did the term " Moonlighting" come about?

Working a hidden job, especially at night, is referred to as "moonlighting." Employees would prefer to work in the "moonlight," or at night, after finishing their day shifts at their primary job.



Different kinds of moonlighting

Moonlighting is classified into four categories according to HRM (Human Resources Management). They are as follows:

The Blue Moonlighting

The term "blue moonlighting" refers to botched moonlighting attempts. Many people find it difficult to balance two occupations in a single day. Blue moonlighting refers to the situation in which an employee finds it challenging to handle multiple jobs.

Quarter Moonlighting

Every second job does not have to be full-time. It is also possible to work part-time. Quarter moonlighting is the practice of working a part-time job in addition to one's normal employment.

Half Moonlighting

Half moonlighting is when you work more hours than part-time employment requires. Half moonlighting is commonly employed when an individual devotes 50% of their available time to part-time employment.

Full Moon Dancing

Full moonlighting is the simultaneous management of two full-time professions/jobs.

Some people even start their own enterprises while continuing to work at their regular employment. There may even be cases where an individual's social position is defined by their secondary career..
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What are the benefits of moonlighting?

Some of the causes for the recent growth in moonlighting throughout the world are as follows:
 

  • Low wages and incentives are insufficient to maintain living standards. When compared to international organizations, many Indian enterprises often have lower starting pay. Furthermore, during the previous 10-12 years, the beginning pay of major IT businesses in India has remained consistent. Even the inflation component is not taken into consideration. In many industries, the demand-supply balance favors employers. With only a few enterprises to choose from, educated individuals have no choice but to accept a low starting salary. However, many employees are dissatisfied with their salaries. Many employees think that their bosses are using them in order to increase profits. They are dissatisfied with their employer's policies and salaries. Employee dissatisfaction with existing salary leads to workplace moonlighting.

  • Rising inflation: People are forced to work two jobs to sustain their lifestyles as the cost of basic commodities rises owing to inflation.

 

  • To achieve financial independence, many revenue streams are required: Many firms' compensation may not be adequate to maintain living standards. Furthermore, new generation employees are keen to achieve financial independence as soon as possible. The FIRE (Financial Independence; Retire Early) idea is prevalent among today's young. Financial independence may be impossible to achieve in the future without numerous income streams. Side gigs are common among techies as a second source of income.

 

  • Mass layoffs and hiring freezes: Many professionals, particularly in technology, have endured restless nights as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak since numerous organizations have declared massive layoffs and the hiring process has slowed during the lockdown. Employees were forced to work on the side during the lockdown due to the fear of losing their jobs.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit: There is a renewed zeal among young people to launch their own businesses, fueled in part by the success of numerous high-growth companies. Many people are motivated to work part-time because of the startup culture. Normal employment offers monetary assistance for start-up founders. Due to the high failure probability of startups, a parallel task would give a suitable backup alternative in case of closure.
  • Employers' lack of appreciation: Workers are still unsatisfied with their job obligations and responsibilities. They begin to feel alienated within the organization since their employers do not respect their efforts.
  • Developing skills for different job profiles: In certain cases, a person may choose concurrent employment in order to enhance their abilities and pursue a career path that feeds their interest and enthusiasm.
  • To overcome boredom: In order to offset the psychological impacts of boredom caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, staff began to pursue their hobbies or side professions.
  • Creative use of additional time: As a result of the move to remote employment, moonlighting has expanded. Employees' days are longer because they spend less time traveling to and from the office due to the work-from-home culture.


 

Why has moonlighting recently been in the news?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a noticeable inclination to start side enterprises or initiatives. It gave its employees the privacy they needed so they could work on projects for other companies at the same time. According to a recent Kotak Institutional Equities poll of 400 professionals in the IT and ITeS industries, 66% knew of people seeking for part-time work or moonlighting from home. As a result, in recent weeks, IT organizations have had mixed attitudes toward moonlighting. The question of moonlighting has spurred fresh debates and polarised opinions among technology specialists. The major subjects of the debate are the ethical and legal aspects of moonlighting.

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Is moonlighting ethical?

By moonlight, the organizations are divided into two groups: old-school IT enterprises and new-school IT enterprises. The bulk of conventional firms prohibits their employees from working for third parties for commercial reasons. Meanwhile, the new age movement believes that morals should grow through time. Swiggy, a food aggregation firm, allowed employees to work on outside projects for compensation or for free, subject to certain limitations and constraints, in early August of this year.
Swiggy's Moonlighting Policy states that normal workers are free to take on any project or activity that may be accomplished after hours or on the weekend without interfering with their productivity or causing a conflict of interest with their regular position. Furthermore, prior approval is essential for any initiatives or assignments that may constitute a conflict of interest or interfere with an employee's work obligations. To have the project accepted by the team, the employee must supply some basic information regarding their side hustles. This arises at a time when food tech businesses are being chastised for making employees work longer hours than required while paying them less than is reasonable.
The organization believes that engaging in such initiatives may considerably benefit an individual's career and personal development.

 

Cred, a prominent financial company, recently said that it promotes side occupations. It further stated that the company's head of design and engineering is a member of the Carnatic rock band 'Agam.'

Meanwhile, employers in the information technology sector are afraid that workers would grow distracted while juggling many duties. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, IBM, and Wipro have all expressed opposition to the practice, however, Tech Mahindra has asserted that it is commonly accepted.

In a tweet, Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji said that holding a second job was "cheating, plain and simple." Rishad Premji revealed that the business had fired 300 employees who were found to be working for both a rival and Wipro. Later, addressing an AIMA event, Mr. Premji stated unequivocally that the business had no place for such employees who choose to work for rivals while working for Wipro. Mr. Premji has been a vocal opponent of employee side jobs. Later, Wipro's CEO said that in such specific incidents of the breach, action had been taken by terminating their services.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, the co-founder of Infosys, chimed in, suggesting that workers should only work for one organization in order to win their employer's confidence and completely focus on the issue at hand. Infosys told employees in an email with the subject line "No Double Lives" that moonlighting violated the company's code of conduct and may result in dismissal.

IBM, located in the United States, has made it plain where it stands on moonlighting. IBM maintained that the practice was immoral and that the company did not support it. According to Sandip Patel, managing director of IBM India, the company's condition mirrors that of the broader industry in the country. "When they start with us, all of our workers sign a contract indicating that they will work full-time with IBM." As a result, starting second employment is immoral," he told media at a Mumbai event.

C P Gurnani, the Managing Director and CEO of Tech Mahindra, showed support for the concept of moonlighting and stated he would explore it for his employees. He indicated support for enabling employees to do extra work. If given the chance, he said he may make moonlighting a company policy, but staff should be open about it. On Twitter, he stated that it is critical to adapt to changing times, adding, "I embrace disruption in the methods we operate."

Tata Consultancy Services Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) N Ganapathy Subramaniam (TCS). Subramaniam said that moonlighting is immoral and that the IT industry will suffer as a result. "Moonlighting is an ethical issue; we need to instill the ethics and (the idea of) doing what is right, and if we do this for short-term profits, we will lose out in the long run," he says.

 

 

The Indian IT Minister's Position on Moonlighting

In the context of the fast-expanding startup culture, Minister of State for Electronics and IT and Skill Development Rajeev Chandrasekhar encourages moonlighting. He believes that this is the future of employment. Companies must now recognize that there has been a fundamental shift in the ideas and attitudes of the young Indian IT workers, according to him. Today's youth are filled with optimism and determination to make the most of their abilities. They aim to capitalize on their abilities. Employers anticipate that their staff will be entrepreneurial while serving them. "The same folks may apply it to themselves," he remarked. However, the minister cautioned that moonlighting should not violate any contractual duties. He also stated that any captive model will eventually fade. He projected that there will be a community of product builders who, like attorneys or consultants, will divide their time between many projects.




Why are so many IT businesses opposed to the phenomenon of moonlighting?

Different firms have different perspectives on this issue. These firms have identified the following risk indicators for employees who moonlight:

  • Conflict Of Intrest: Concerns have been raised about potential conflicts of interest generated by an employee working for a competitor or exposing private or sensitive information.
  • Employees' doubts about their job performance: Companies are afraid that if an employee overworks himself, it may damage productivity or performance at his or her main job.
  • Misapplication of employer resources: Employers also dislike the use of corporate resources, such as computers and software, for a side business.
  • Absenteeism:  Taking time away from one's main employment to work on secondary projects.
  • Lack of concentration and fatigue:  Employees who double up may get physically and mentally exhausted, resulting in difficulty to focus, lethargy, and other health-related issues. This has a progressive influence on the growth of the company where they work.

 

 

Is moonlighting lawful or illegal?

There are a variety of regulations in India that specify multiple works, although they do not completely prohibit moonlighting. Section 60 of the Factories Act of 1948 prohibits the dual employment of adult workers in factories. Organizations that do not run factories, on the other hand, are immune from its anti-double employment legislation.

The following acts concern dual work in India:

  • Section 60 of the Factories Act of 1948: It prohibits multiple employment. Unless otherwise indicated, no adult worker may be forced or authorized to work in a factory on any day on which he has already worked in another sector. Unless otherwise specified
  • Industrial Employment Standing Order Act, 1946: This Act requires employers in industrial establishments to clearly describe the terms of employment and submit proposal standing rules for certification to the certification Authority. It applies to all industrial facilities with 100 or more employees (50 workers, in the case of facilities for which the Central Government is the Appropriate Government).
  • Section 65 of the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948: Prohibition on double work on holidays or while on leave. No employee shall work in any establishment, nor shall any employer knowingly let an employee work in any establishment, on a day on which the employee has been granted a holiday or is on leave under the terms of this Act.
  • Section 9 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954: Prohibition on dual employment. No one shall work for an establishment, two or more establishments, or an establishment and a factory for longer than the term during which he may legitimately be engaged under this Act. Furthermore, each state has its own set of rules and regulations, which might differ from one another. IT firms are frequently exempted from certain statutory rules, such as dual employment. When it comes to work, people are free to make their own choices.


Many legal experts and human resource professionals agree that courts have previously permitted firms to terminate employees who are discovered to be moonlighting. In the 2016 case of Gulbahar v. Presiding Officer Industrial Tribunal, for example, the Punjab Haryana High Court upheld the petitioner's discharge on the basis of dual employment. In a case involving Metso Paper (India) Pvt Ltd vs. Mr. V. .Gokulakrishnan, a Delhi District court backed the termination of the employee who held two jobs on September 6, 2019, in a manner similar to this.

According to Vikram Shroff, the head of the human resources law practice at the law firm Nishith Desai Associates, organizations in the IT sector that employ individuals full-time want to restrict employees from moonlighting in any form, whether it is a second job or a side company.

In full-time employment, the worker is expected to spend all of his or her working hours to achieve the company's aims. However, delivery and logistics businesses that use gig workers may be unable to legally stop them from moonlighting. This is due to the fact that gig workers do not often have a full-time job connection and are therefore not eligible for employment benefits or protections. They might be able to seek other options if they avoid disputes.

However, delivery and logistics companies that recruit gig workers may be unable to legally prohibit them from working a second job. This is because part-time workers frequently lack a formal employment contract that would qualify them for benefits or legal protections. They may be allowed to pursue other options if they avoid issues and do not break confidentially.

 

 

Daylighting, Silent Quitting, and Quiet Firing are all terms that are used interchangeably.

The post-pandemic era has pushed new trends in professional areas all across the world. In recent months, the expressions "quiet resigning," "moonlighting," "daylighting," and "quite firing" have entered workplace discourse.

What exactly is Daylighting?

Daylighting progressively replaced moonlighting. The essential premise behind daylighting and moonlighting is the same: an employee works for many enterprises while conforming to the law of ordinary wealth. However, the parallels end there. When your second work is held during the same 9 to 5 hours as your first, daylighting becomes extraordinary.

What exactly is Quiet or Silent Quitting?

Quiet resignation refers to things other than employees resigning from their positions. Employees who "quietly depart" are really doing the absolute minimum of their employment rather than leaving overtly. Arriving on time for your shift, requesting extra compensation, discarding ambitious attempts, isolating yourself from your work, and/or building clear borders between your personal and professional life are all examples of this.

What exactly is Quiet Firing?

It refers to a situation in which a manager avoids their obligations in order to encourage an employee to resign rather than successfully managing them. And, on occasion, they may unwittingly push their employees out the door.

According to Annie Rosencrans, director of people and culture at HiBob, a people management platform, the notion of "quiet termination" has been around for a long time.


 

Suggestions about how to improve the situation

  • Create appropriate laws that tackle the issue of moonlighting in all industries.

  • Employers may use technologies such as Workforce Analytics to monitor and keep an eye on where their remote employees are spending their time while they should be working for you. Speak with them if a number of them start dedicating more time to their side ventures than you expected.

  • Employers can also use "remote employee monitoring software" such as "WorkStatus" to track how much time workers spend working after hours.

  • Employers should ensure that their employment policies, as well as other papers such as the employee contract and IT, clearly state the company's stance on moonlighting.

  • Before looking for side jobs or launching a business, individuals should thoroughly review their employment contract with their primary employer to guarantee compliance with any moonlighting regulations.

  • Employees can seek greater job possibilities in top government services such as IAS, IPS, and IFS.

 


 

Conclusion

  • Moonlighting is the practice of working numerous jobs after regular business hours without the knowledge of one's principal employment.
  • Moonlighting might be a strategy for maintaining competence and productivity while avoiding disengagement, gaining new abilities, and increasing enthusiasm.
  • Moonlighting may also contradict the primary goal of rest periods, vacations, and leave, while also negatively impacting workers' physical and mental health and leading to burnout.
  • Loss of experience, data, and technology to competitors will also pose a risk to the employer.
  • There is still no clear-cut regulation in India governing moonlighting that can be applied to all fields of employment. So whether moonlighting is lawful or criminal is largely determined by the company and the terms of employment.
  • Companies may add a conflict-of-interest provision as well as an exclusive clause barring moonlighting in their employee agreements, but legal limits alone will not provide the intended outcomes if there is no trust and no engagement.
  • While companies like Swiggy have devised policies that allow employees to moonlight in a way that does not create a conflict of interest and has no detrimental consequences on productivity, it may herald a new age in employment.
  • In view of the current discussion on moonlighting, the government should develop a policy on moonlighting as part of the new labour legislation. It may merely provide a legal framework for what has been going on secretly for years in so many domains.
  • It is past time to develop a comprehensive policy describing what is acceptable and what is not, allowing workers to work outside of their full-time role.

Why is moonlighting beneficial?

Employees, corporations, industries, and society may all benefit from moonlighting. A professional, for example, who can contribute to upskilling, training, and teaching in areas where it is difficult to find the proper people to meet demand.

Can I work for two IT firms at the same time?

If you are thinking of working in two firms in India, you can do so since there is nothing in Indian law that prevents employees from doing so. However, if your company restricts you, you should reconsider because the penalties could be severe.

What is Wipro's moonlighting?

Moonlighting is a phrase used to describe an employee's practise of accepting part-time tasks from a second firm while also working for one on its payroll.

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