Infosys on Monday warned its employees against moonlighting. In an email, the company clarified that the practice could lead to termination. “Remember – NO TWO-TIMING – NO MOONLIGHTING (sic),” the email sent by HR reads.
The email also defined moonlighting as a practice of working on a second job during or outside of regular business hours, and added that Infosys “strictly discourages dual employment”.
With this, the company echoed Wipro chairman Rishad Premji’s sentiments who had termed the practice as cheating.
Moonlighting, in usual parlance, means taking up a job apart from one’s regular 9 to 5 job. While some do it for extra money, others do it to gain more experience while there are also those who do it to pursue their interests.
Contrary to the common opinion against moonlighting in the tech sector, Swiggy had introduced a moonlighting policy in August. The company said employees can take up external projects for free or for economic consideration. In case of a conflict of interest or the project interfering with their Swiggy duties, it will have to go through an approval process.
But, despite its recent popularity, moonlighting is not a recent phenomenon. It has existed in multiple forms and is likely to continue to do so. Startups have been formed as the founders were moonlighting (Flipkart, Freshworks); many consultants moonlight before they go fully independent; teachers moonlight by giving tuitions, and many employees have their side-projects or hustles, writes Nisha Ramchandani, manager-outreach at Axilor Ventures.
But, is moonlighting legal?
Bhagyashree Pancholy, Legal Advisor, All Remotely told Moneycontrol, “As per the Labour Law in India, if you are fully employed, you cannot have your own business or even work elsewhere. However, people have found ways to circumvent this.”