What is ‘moonlighting’, the practice Infosys warned its employees against

Information technology giant Infosys has warned its employees against moonlighting, the practice of having second jobs after work hours. In an internal post, the company has told its employees that such activities will lead to termination of contract, The Mint reported. In the internal communication, Infosys said that dual employment is not permitted as the per the Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct.

The tech firm also highlighted the portion of the offer letter which stated that employees are not allowed to take up roles in other firms without Infosys’ permission, the Mint report added.

What is moonlighting?

Moonlighting refers to the practice of taking up secondary jobs after the regular work hours. This secondary job is taken without employers’ knowledge. It is usually the side jobs taken in the night or on the weekends.

The IT firms are worried that ‘moonlighting’ will affect productivity, lead to conflicts of interest and possibly data breach.

ALSO READ: Swiggy’s ‘Moonlighting Policy’ allows employees to take up external projects

Is moonlighting illegal in India?

In India, a person may take up one more job without breaking any law. But someone with similar set of jobs could result in concerns about violation of confidentiality. A majority of companies include the single employment clauses in the employee contracts. In such a situation, moonlight can be considered as cheating.

In India, dual employment is prohibited as per the Factories Act. But in some states, IT firms are exempted from that rule. The employees should carefully check their employment contract before taking up multiple jobs.

Is moonlighting ethical?

The IT sector is sharply divided over the ethics surrounding moonlighting. Wipro chairman Rishad Premji had called the practice as ‘cheating’. “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple”, he tweeted on August 20.

Tech Mahindra’s chief executive officer (CEO) CP Gurnami recently tweeted that it is necessary to keep changing with the times. “I welcome disruption in the ways we work.”

On the other hand, former director of Infosys Mohandas Pai said low entry-level salaries in tech industries led to moonlighting. “If you don’t pay people well, they say I want to earn more money and here is the easy way of earning well because technology is available…I get paid in dollars very well, I can earn more… and so that is attractive,” he told PTI.

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