EXPLAINED: What Is Moonlighting? Is It Legal? Does It Count As Cheating?

Swiggy launched a policy that allows its workers to work on projects outside their shift timings. The principle is called moonlighting. Ever since then, the world is on storm with contrasting opinions on the same. Know everything about moonlighting here.
Moonlighting. Good Or Bad?
Moonlighting. Good Or Bad?


The Moonlighting Policy by Indian food delivery company Swiggy that allows its employees to work on gigs that do not belong to the company after their respective shift timings, has stirred a debate about whether moonlighting is right or wrong. While some call it pure cheating toward one’s organization as well as show concerns over data breaching issues, others call it a good step taken toward employee satisfaction.


What Is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting simply refers to the act of having a second job, or working for extra projects, gigs, or employers, that counts as a secondary source of income, outside one’s working hours.

Moonlighting allows workers to work for side projects once they finish their shift timings, without compromising on their primary employment.


Recently, food delivery giant Swiggy introduced the moonlighting policy for its employees, allowing them to work on their passion projects outside of their work under certain conditions, calling it a step towards building a world-class “remote-first organization”.


Swiggy said that it trusts its employees and believes they can give an excellent performance in their work even while picking up other passion gigs. Other companies like Cred, too, support side hustles for their employees.


However, while the drastic move has gained support from many other organizations, many employers don’t consider the same for their own companies.


The last two years of work-from-home setup amidst the pandemic have given rise to many moonlighting incidents among white-collar professionals where workers gained extra sums of money from side gigs, apart from their regular employment.


Many employees wish to pursue moonlighting but they are bound to follow their company policies. While some companies do not care if their employees work elsewhere too, many companies do raise a brow.

It is seen that while new age companies are more flexible to accommodate such policies, traditional tech companies are still hesitant.


The Response

The policy has received contrasting responses from companies all over the country.

Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji’s Response On Moonlighting:

Rishad Premji, Wipro’s chairman, clearly calls the concept of moonlighting in the tech industry cheating.

Days after Swiggy announced its moonlighting policy, Rishad Premji tweeted: “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating- plain and simple.”


In support of Premji’s view, Rahul Sasi, co-founder, and CEO of CloudSek said that he agrees with the views of Premji as moonlighting adversely affects the day job and takes the focus off it.


Many young techies disagree with Premji’s opinion.

They consider moonlighting as a source of gaining extra profits while also helping them hone their skills. Moreover, they do not consider the practice as cheating.


Many young professionals argue that they devote a substantial amount of time to the organization. After the shift timings, a person is free to do whatever he/she wants to do as a passion project or side gig, and the company should not have a say over it.


It is interesting to note that many professionals who practice moonlighting earn more extra profits than they earn with their primary employment source. 


Not only does moonlighting help young professionals enhance their skills, but it also helps them build a robust profile, which may help them in their master’s degree.

Many universities abroad consider such side projects as valuable and an applicant who performs in challenging projects alongside their regular 9-5 jobs thus gets an upper hand over others.


The Big Question- Is Moonlighting Legal?

The statement by Sameer Jain, Managing Partner, PSL Advocates & Solicitors is enough to answer the question. As per Mr. Jain, “there is no overarching law which prohibits a person from doing multiple jobs.”


However, he also states that a person in a similar nature of jobs may spark breach of confidentiality issues- many companies have confidentiality clauses in the employment agreement along with clauses prohibiting multiple employments.


How Ethical Is Moonlighting?

There are contrasting views on whether moonlighting is ethical or not. 

Swiggy considers moonlighting as the future. Its human resources head, Girish Menon concurs that moonlighting is the future of work.

He also states that employees will declare what gigs they want to engage in. The firm claims that the company clearly states which side hustle would conflict with their business, competition, or intellectual property.

He also states that any breaches of the code of conduct will be addressed by the disciplinary committee.


On the other hand, the head of the HR law practice at law firm Nishith Desai Associates, Vikram Shroff says that an employee is required and expected to give his entire working time, efforts, and energy to the employer’s interest.


Can Employees Lose Their Jobs Due To Moonlighting?

According to legal professionals, courts have many a time given a green flag to employers to terminate employment in case of employers engaging in moonlighting.

The restriction is on double employment under the Factories Act. However, this law is not applicable to IT companies in some states.


While different companies have different stances and policies around moonlighting, the practice may become a problem for employers in some cases. In situations when moonlighting turns to daylighting, it should not be overlooked.

Moreover, the side hustle an employee wishes to engage in must not pose a threat of leakage of confidential information of the primary job. Additionally, the side hustle must be legal and must not take away the employee’s productivity.


An Advice For Employees

While some companies support moonlighting completely, others frown upon it.

In such a case, it becomes a mandate for an employee to always check her/his employment contract with the primary employment to ensure compliance with moonlighting before engaging in any side hustle. Not doing so may give rise to troubles in the future.


Some cases of moonlighting have also led the employees to lose their primary jobs or get legal action against them.


In other words, better safe than sorry.

Get the latest General Knowledge and Current Affairs from all over India and world for all competitive exams.
Jagran Play
खेलें हर किस्म के रोमांच से भरपूर गेम्स सिर्फ़ जागरण प्ले पर
Jagran PlayJagran PlayJagran PlayJagran Play

Related Categories