Moonlighting: Is it Ethical?

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    The net hiring for the top three IT companies — Wipro, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)—exceeded 50,000 in the June quarter. Despite worries about a looming global recession, the industry reports that hiring targets have not significantly moderated for the whole fiscal year. Tech workers have been buoyed by the employment boom, but IT employers are beginning to express concerns about previously unheard-of turnover rates, rising labour costs, and issues like Moonlighting.

    “Doing two remote jobs at once was already happening; it was the biggest open secret out there in tech,” a US techie was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

    Moonlighting attracted attention after big IT firms including Infosys, TCS, and Wipro announced they would delay, postpone, or lower the variable dividend to employees for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023 due to reduced margins.

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    credit: livemint

    Moonlighting is the term for the practice of working for one organisation while concurrently taking on additional responsibilities and employment, usually without the employer’s knowledge.

    The term “side job” refers to a job that is often done after hours or on the weekends. When Americans started seeking for second occupations in addition to their usual 9-to-5 work to support their income, the expression gained notoriety.

    When it comes to moonlighting, the IT industry is divided. Some people think it’s unethical, while others think it’s necessary at the moment. Rishad Premji, the chairman of Wipro, is very clear about his position on this. There is a lot of discussion regarding people working second jobs in the IT sector. Simply put, this is cheating, he had earlier tweeted.

    Mohandas Pai, a former director of Infosys, disagrees with Premji on this point. “Employment is a contract between an employer who pays me for working for them for ‘n’ number of hours a day. Now what I do after that time is my freedom, I can do what I want,” according to Business Today.

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    In India, it’s legal to hold multiple jobs without breaching the law. However, a person with a comparable set of employment could raise worries about a breach of confidence because many employers often forbid employees from holding down more than one job in their employment agreements.

    If an employee’s contract stipulates non-compete and exclusive employment, as is the case with the majority of traditional employment contracts, moonlighting might be regarded as cheating. If the employment contracts do not contain this clause or offer exceptions, it is not considered cheating.

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