New Rules Focusing On Moonlighting And Attempting To Outlaw Practice
New food delivery service Swiggy recently established an "industry-first" policy that permits its employees to work on jobs or projects that are unrelated to their normal employment at the company during their downtime. These new rules are known as the "moonlighting" policy. Rishad Premji, the chairman of Wipro, criticised the practice of side work in the computer sector. He started a discussion on social media that has continued to gain traction days after the tweet that started it. Many social media users who have commented on moonlighting agree that employers should not be concerned about what professionals do in their spare time. These comments have come from both employers and employees. Is moonlighting just a side hustle or is it something that has the potential to threaten firms -- both big and small?
Moonlighting is the practice of doing a second job outside of regular business hours, typically without the employer's knowledge. Since the side job was mostly at night-time or on weekends, it was referred to as moonlighting. The phrase became well-known when Americans began looking for second jobs in addition to their regular 9-to-5 jobs to supplement their income. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the practice of "moonlighting" or working other jobs to supplement income has grown in popularity and extent. Due to issues like conflicts of interest, poor job performance, or abusing an employer's resources, most Indian businesses do not permit their employees to hold down other employment. Moonlighting, according to experts, can be a double-edged sword for workers in India. While working on side tasks and part-time assignments while employed full-time with a company may result in some extra revenue and useful experience, it can also be considered as a contract violation that could result in termination if discovered.
Lockdowns brought on by the coronavirus over the past two years have made employees in some industries more likely to work second jobs. This was due to the fact that, aside from the financial instability of the period, some types of workers were able to complete more work while working from home, freeing up time for a second job. Additionally, the gig economy idea has grown in acceptance in recent years. A recent study by Kotak Institutional Equities of 400 professionals in the IT and ITeS industry found that 65% of respondents knew of persons who were looking for part-time work or moonlighting from home. In an article in The Wall Street Journal, it was detailed how some IT workers made use of this opportunity by doing the bare minimum at their jobs to juggle multiple responsibilities. Even while it is legal to hold two jobs in the US, many employees kept their second job a secret; several lost their jobs when it was discovered. An American worker also started a website called Overemployed to share advice on managing two jobs and engage in community discussions with others who planned to do the same, even as the morality of surreptitiously taking another job was being contested.
Swiggy's policy demonstrates a practical understanding of the changing nature of white-collar work, especially in the fast-paced IT & e-commerce industries, where asymmetric work patterns, like those used by global back-offices or engineers, leave employees with a lot of free time. The same is true for people who work set shifts or hours. The future of the gig economy and the evolving form of white-collar work in India have both been discussed in relation to moonlighting. While some believe it would be detrimental to the tech sector, others continue to support the idea. Companies are concerned about the decrease in output at the main position because moonlighting causes overwork. Employees exploiting company tools like computers or software for side jobs is another issue they face. Companies should try to promote transparency and openness. NDAs should be signed to ensure that nothing goes wrong, and employees should be required to guarantee that the company's resources will be respected. It is noteworthy that while there is no general rule prohibiting moonlighting, specific businesses have policies against it. Future businesses may develop new rules focusing on moonlighting and attempting to outlaw the practice.