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Decoding the Impact of ‘Moonlighting’ on the Tech Industry

Many IT companies have warned their employees against moonlighting and are trying to increase worker monitoring

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

INDIA: In a money-driven world, not everyone is satisfied with their regular income. People hustle to earn as much money as they can by selling their skills to other employees.

The hustle to earn extra income brings up the concept of “moonlighting,” in which an employee works for a second job outside of his or her regular business hours.

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Moonlighting, as the name suggests, is the practice of doing a second job that is often done at night, during the full moon, or outside of regular business hours.

For instance, an employee generally works 9–5 as a primary source of income and works at different jobs at night to earn extra income.

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Some do side hustles to earn extra income by working part-time and by doing freelance on the other hand some people explore creative arts, like creating YouTube content, making podcasts, doing blog posts, playing music at a club, etc.

Is moonlighting ‘cheating’?

This is not a new concept in the IT field, yet not everyone talks about it and it remains controversial.

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Chaos broke out when Wipro chairman Rishad Premji expressed his opinion on Twitter regarding the moonlighting concept. He wrote, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating—plain and simple.”

On the contrary, Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani said in an interview that the issue is not rampant.

However, he stated, “I am going to probably make a policy that if you want to do it, I mean sure, but be open about it with the company.” He further added, “If you are a millennial and you can do two jobs, you are a superhero!”

Gurnani also posted a tweet saying, “My thoughts on the trending ‘M’ word It’s necessary to keep changing with the times, and as always, I welcome disruption in the ways we work. “

Many IT companies have warned their employees against moonlighting and are trying to increase worker monitoring. Wipro’s firing of 300 employees brings this concept to the forefront.

Why is moonlight boosting?

Moonlighting is currently the biggest open secret in the tech sector. This is mostly a result of its work-from-anywhere (WFA) flexibility and wage structures, which have not been updated in decades and are out of step with inflation and the cost of living.

The impact of moonlighting has increased thanks to social media, which has elevated it to a cross-platform discourse. The younger worker generation has questioned and berated leaders who have taken a strong stance in this discourse.

In the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, moonlighting has become more common, say, HR experts, as people look for additional income to offset job losses, inflation, or the extra time that comes with working from home.

Some people get a chance to enhance their skills by doing creative endeavours in their additional work time. Moonlighting, however, was not expected to grow to such a huge proportion so rapidly by India Inc.

Moonlight policy

Most moonlighting policies are primarily intended to outline your expectations that employees will treat their work at your company as their primary job and will not allow other employees to interfere with the execution of the primary job.

It is time for businesses to start taking note of this and adopt a proactive approach to moonlighting where they may define conflict of interest, establish conflict of interest bylaws, define conflict of interest by performance requirements, etc.

This change comes after Swiggy, a food-tech business, recently introduced a “Moonlighting Policy” that permits its employees to work several jobs in their spare time for “economic consideration.”

In addition, the moonlighting policy helps employers more than employees. If employees commit any kind of violation, employers can easily take legal action against them.

Mohandas Pai, a former director of Infosys TVS, stated that while employees are subject to an employment agreement and its terms, they are otherwise free to do as they like as long as they do not use any of the company’s assets, intellectual property, or anything else.

Additionally, he stated that employers should inquire as to why employees are moonlighted in the first place. Pai claimed that the fresher pay had not changed significantly.

Also Read: Cultural Shift: Pandemic’s Impact On Work Culture

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