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    Is moonlighting ethical or not?

    Moonlighting has become one of the hot topics in the gig economy these days. The concept of moonlighting has seen a tremendous rise, especially amidst this work-from-home model or remote working culture after the covid pandemic. 

    There is always a lot of debate among people regarding the legitimacy of moonlighting in employment sectors. While some individuals show support for moonlight, others really oppose it. 

    And thus there arise multiple among the people about:

    is it ethical?

    Can individuals be fired for moonlighting?

    Can employers are prohibiting moonlighting?

    and many more!


    What is moonlighting? 

    The practice of working for an organization along with taking up extra responsibilities and jobs, but without the knowledge of the employer can be referred to as moonlighting. 

    It is otherwise called side employment which is typically performed at night or on the weekends. 

    The concept of moonlighting became popular when Americans started looking for second jobs along with their regular 9-to-5 jobs to supplement their income.

    How did this concept get its name “Moonlighting”?

    The phrase “moonlighting” refers to working for a covert job, specifically at night.

    As people do work after concluding their day shifts at their primary organization, employees would choose to work at night under the “moonlight”.

    Types of moonlighting

    According to Human Resources Management Moonlighting can be divided into the following four. They are:

    Blue Moonlighting

    Blue moonlighting is a type that is used to denote failed efforts at moonlighting.

    It is not easy to manage two jobs in a day simultaneously for many. The scenario or the period where the candidate finds it difficult to manage both jobs is called blue moonlighting.

    For example, a candidate working in his primary organization for 9 to 5 and working for another organization for 3 to 10. Then he will have difficulties managing from 3 to 5 and this period is termed as blue moonlighting. 

    stressed employee

    Quarter Moonlighting

    Every second job that the person does may not be full-time. It can also be part-time. 

    Quarter moonlighting is a type where an employee does his part-time job after his regular job.

    Half Moonlighting

    Half moonlighting is a type in which candidates spend more time than required by a part-time job in an additional job.

    Usually, the term half moonlighting come into existence when the candidates spend 50% of their available time at a part-time job.

    Full Moonlighting

    Full moonlighting refers to the type in which the employee has to manage two full-time professions/jobs at the same time in parallel. 

    Some individuals also even work for their own businesses while continuing to work at their normal jobs as an employee. This can also be referred to as full moonlighting. 

    It can even be the scenarios where the social status of the employee is generally determined by their second occupation. 

    Indian law on Moonlighting

    If you are looking for any law regarding it in India, let us tell you there is no such law. The legality of moonlighting is not specifically addressed by any provision Or any act of the country’s employment law in India. 

    However, the Indian Factories Act of 1948’s Section 60 demonstrates the prohibition of double employment in India for those people who work in factories. As per this act, no adult worker is permitted to work in a factory if they are already employed by another factory. 

    However, not all organizations are covered by the law as not all institutions fall under the definition of a factory which is defined by the Factories Act of 1948. It is only applicable to factories.

    But, those organizations who are exempt from the Factories and Factories Act are required to include a dual employment clause in the offer letter, employee agreement, or appointment letter beforehand while joining the company by outlining the restriction on concurrent employment. 

    The employee agreement must specify if there are any restrictions on concurrent employment and the ineligibility of the employee for concurrent employment until they have completed their current employer’s services. It shows that an individual cannot hold two jobs at once.

    stressed frustrated young employee

    Is moonlighting illegal? 

    Moonlighting or Overemployment, which is termed as dual employment in India, is technically permissible or legal in the US and the UK from the perspective of tax. 

    As per the UK government, second employment in the UK could alter the tax status of an employee but it wouldn’t be expressly noted there as such payroll department of the first employer and it would probably go unreported in a larger organization. 

    The tax system of the US is very simpler as it is built on the idea of self-assessment and voluntary reporting.

    In India, a person may work more than one job simultaneously without breaking the law. But both job should not align with each other.

    However, if a person is working with a similar set of jobs at two different places this could give rise to concerns about a violation of confidentiality as many employers include such restrictions in their agreements of employment in addition to taking prohibition against holding down multiple jobs. 

    As there is no proper law about moonlighting, it could be considered as cheating if the contract of the employee calls for only non-compete and single employment, which is the current situation with the majority of conventional employment contracts in India. However, it is not considered as cheating if the employment contract of the company does not have such a clause or provide relaxations.

    As per the Factories Act, dual employment is prohibited and illegal. However, certain IT companies in some states are exempt from that rule. 

    So it is crucial for employees to carefully check their employment contract before looking for side jobs or starting their own venture along with their primary job to ensure compliance with any moonlighting policies.

    Is moonlighting morally right?

    When it comes to moonlight, there is disagreement about it in the IT industry. The IT sector is divided in this matter. Some of the companies address it as unethical while others believe it is the need of the hour. Some of the companies considered it to be urgently necessary for extra income while some people label it unethical. 

    Rishad Premji, the chairperson of Wipro, has made his position very clear about this. According to him “People working second jobs in the tech sector are a hot topic these days.” He addresses it as cheating, plain and simple. 

    Contrary to Premji, Mohandas Pai, the former director of Infosys has a different opinion regarding this matter. According to him, moonlighting is not cheating. 

    He said that ” An employment relationship is a legal agreement between me and my employer under which I am compensated for the ‘n’ daily hours I work for them. I’m free to do whatever I want now after that time has passed. “

    Moonlighting is addressed as “not rampant,” according to CP Gurnani, the MD of Tech Mahindra. Gurnani continued his thought that his company would probably “make a policy” that allows employees to openly hold down multiple jobs at once. As per Gurani at a gathering, “Sure, if you want to do it. But be honest about it and let us know. “

    The CEO of TCS, N Ganapathy Subramaniam, also referred to moonlighting as an “ethical issue.”  he claimed that when decisions like this are made by the employee for short-term gains, they might lose out in the long run. 

    Earlier, Swiggy declared an “industry first policy” that permitted their employees to work additional hours. “Any project or activity which is taken on outside of business or working hours or on the weekend, without affecting the productivity of the individual and does not have any kind of conflict of interest, may be picked up by the employees, “ claimed Swiggy.


    As you read this article this far, you might know about moonlighting in India. 

    Moonlighting is not illegal if you are not working in a sector that comes under the factory. However, some employers consider it unethical and morally inappropriate. 

    But if you want to work an extra hour rather than your job, you should look at what your employee agreement says.

    *image source from Google

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