Moonlighting is unacceptable: Happiest Minds follows Wipro by firing employees for dual jobs
IT company Happiest Minds has sacked staff members for working extra jobs, following Wipro. Moonlighting, according to the employer, is prohibited since it is a breach of the employment agreement. Employees who take up a second job while employed by one company are said to be moonlighting. Many IT companies, including IBM and Wipro, have referred to it as “illegal” and “unethical.” In actuality, the controversy was started by Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji, who referred to it as “cheating – plain and simple.”
Joseph Anantharaju, executive vice chairman of Happiest Minds, told the news agency PTI that his organisation has been very explicit with its employees about the fact that it will not tolerate multiple employment. “…because you consent to work just for that company when you accept a contract or job offer,” he said.
Moonlighting, according to Anantharaju, raises hazards and concerns about security as well as the willingness of employees to devote their time and attention to final clients and deliver results. He claimed that his company had discovered instances of employees moonlighting and that they had all been fired immediately to spread the word throughout the organisation.
“Even if it is only a few hours, there is no real way to know that. We have done that, and you cannot be doing two jobs. If you want to participate in any volunteer work unrelated to your field, you might prefer to spend the weekend teaching in a different school. However, for us, you must devote all of your time to this gym and Happiest Minds,” he said.
The top executives of IT companies are currently divided, with some openly opposing the practice and others taking a more forgiving stance in light of the rising cost of living and the exposure staff receive when working on other projects.
In an August tweet, Rishad Premji of Wipro stated: “There is a lot of discussion regarding people working second jobs in the technology sector. This is straightforwardly cheating.” When Premji tweeted a few weeks later, 300 of his staff had been let go after it was discovered that they were moonlighting.
In support of him, Harsh Goenka of RPG Group claimed that Wipro works with Fortune 500 companies for whom data secrecy is sacred. “The customer will not tolerate it,” he warned, “even the slightest potential of data vulnerability.”
The second-largest IT company in the nation, Infosys, has also joined the league and warned its staff against moonlighting and doing two jobs at once. However, it made a U-turn earlier this month and permitted its employees to accept gig employment with advance approval from managers and HR.
Moonlighting is the practice of accepting a second job or several other work assignments in addition to one’s full-time position, usually without the knowledge of the principal employer.
- Moonlighting is the term for side work that is often done at night or on the weekends.
- Indian IT organisations have differing opinions on the moonlighting notion; some see it as unethical, while others see it as necessary.
- They were concerned that it might encourage a culture of inaction and the leakage of crucial knowledge about the projects, which might harm their ability to compete.
- While Wipro and TCS are categorically against the practice of moonlighting, Swiggy has introduced a policy that permits staff to moonlight.
- No law prevents dual employment in India. Moonlighting is not defined under any statute in India.
Moonlighting: Why do people take up a second job anyway?
The current global economic downturn is arguably the worst since WWII. Most companies have a strategy in place to deal with adversity. However, a typical employee might not always have a plan for such events. In a failing economy, layoffs can happen shockingly regularly.
However, working a second job is not always a strategy to supplement your income. Let’s examine the reasons why individuals choose to work a second job.
The most common justification for working a second job can be this. People who are uneasy about their current jobs sometimes take on a second career as a fallback. At present, businesses are operating at a loss. Therefore, individuals who can keep their jobs frequently must work long hours without getting paid extra. A recent study found that older workers, whose lives are already challenging due to the worldwide unemployment crisis, maybe the ones who are suffering the most.
Multiple sources of income
You should always have several sources of income, as any financial advisor will likely counsel you. Some people’s passive income comes from investments or a side business that they operate. But for some people, it works as a second job. Making extra money is always in demand, likely motivating people to moonlight.
Paying off debt
The COVID-19 epidemic caused significant job losses worldwide, including in India. Even while coronavirus is currently not regarded as a severe health emergency, things don’t seem to be getting any better. Financial analysts’ predictions of an inevitable recession are worsening employment. To pay off debt, many rely on moonlight. They might have a car, laptop, or home loan from before the pandemic. They can cover the cost with second employment.
Change of career
People who want to change their career paths occasionally take on a second job to become accustomed to it. You can keep working at your current employment while looking for side jobs or freelance possibilities in whatever industry you want if you don’t already have a formal basis in your target industry, people moonlight as a side job to gain the experience they need to later land lucrative employment in it.
Some people place a higher priority on pursuing their passion than making money. However, following your passion might not always be financially rewarding. Therefore, you must work a day job and perform as a DJ at night. Even if a passion project isn’t likely to be a significant source of revenue right immediately, it might be beneficial in the long run. So, by doing a second job, you may follow your passions without being concerned about losing your primary source of income.
Many people remain in unfulfilling employment merely for the sake of having stable finances. When daily life stops people from employing their resourcefulness, many turn to a side job to keep their minds active and stay on top of their game. You might sometimes find the push you need to spark your creative side by taking on a part-time second job. Without such a challenge, you could lack the motivation to develop original concepts or approaches to problems.
Pros and cons of Moonlighting
- Money- That continues to be the primary motivation for taking on additional tasks. Additionally, additional income can be a lifeline with rising gas prices, rising health insurance premiums, and many earnings being frozen.
- Security- According to John McKee, president and founder of BusinessSuccessCoach.net and author of “Career Wisdom,” “many professionals today are looking at second employment as a fallback because they feel, properly, that their main work is not fully safe.”
- Freedom- According to experts, having a second job or career might have psychological advantages, such as the feeling of not being bound to one firm.
- New skills- According to McKee, getting a part-time job could be a method to test the waters or improve your entrepreneurial abilities if you’re considering switching careers but aren’t ready to leap.
- Time- Do you want to work an additional 10 or 20 hours a week, not to mention the inconvenience of commuting and the disappointment of loved ones who would like to spend more time with you rather than less?
- Conflict of interest- According to J. Daniel Marr, managing director of the New Hampshire law firm Hamblett and Kerrigan, consulting for a direct (or even indirect) competitor can place you in a precarious situation. According to Marr, this is a significant problem in software and other fields where you apply the skills you obtained from your primary company. Employers adamantly claim ownership of your intellectual property.
- Performance slippage- The concern that they would burn out is one of the reasons why many companies view moonlighters with suspicion. Some businesses could require your constant attention, even after hours.
- Employer irritation- Even if the company permits moonlighting, managers might not be in favour of it. According to Marr, angry comments such as, “We’re paying this guy X dollar a year, and it’s still not enough?” are common.
Is Moonlighting Ethical?
- Opinions about moonlighting vary across the IT sector. While some believe it unethical, others believe it to be a current necessity.
- If a worker’s contract has both a non-compete and a single employment condition, moonlighting may be considered unfair competition.
- It is not deemed cheating if the employment contracts don’t include this provision or have exceptions.
- Employees who moonlight are less likely to give their all to one organisation, which impacts the business’s effectiveness.
- It also impacts employees’ loyalty to a single employer.
- The organisation’s trade secrets and distinctive working methods are shared with competitors, lowering their earning potential.
Law related to Moonlighting in India
- There is no legal definition of moonlighting in the country. No adult worker, however, shall be forced or permitted to work in any factory on any day on which he has already been working in any other factory, according to Section 60 of the Factory Act. However, this law only applies to those who work in factories.
- In Glaxo Laboratories (I) Limited v. Labour Court, Meerut and Others, the Supreme Court ruled that the employer “barely has any extraterritorial jurisdiction.” Service would be reduced to slavery if companies controlled how their staff behaved beyond work hours. Although not related to moonlighting, this case can be used to understand local legislation better.
- The organisation must first pay sufficient employee compensation so they do not moonlight largely due to a lack of resources.
- Before drafting such a strategy, all the stakeholders must be consulted to consider the benefits and drawbacks of everyone involved and their interests.