What Is Moonlighting? How is it influencing the Indian Corporate Culture

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LegalKart Editor 03 min read 492 Views
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Moonlighting has been a hot topic in the Indian job sector and some major Indian IT and tech firms have been cracking the whip on their employees for moonlighting. The issue of moonlighting has emerged as a big talking point after Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji flagged the issue on Twitter. "There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating - plain and simple,” he tweeted.


What is moonlighting?


Moonlighting refers to employees taking up side gigs to work on more than one job at a time. This trend is a common concept in the Indian job sector. Recently it is making headlines for wrong reasons after severe backlash from several IT firms. Companies have always opposed this practice, saying that employees doing multiple jobs can impact their productivity. An employee usually works for 8-9 hours in his primary job, while he takes another 4-5 hours for moonlighting.


What does the IT employees union say?

Pune-based union Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) has argued that moonlighting "is not feasible" for a number of reasons. "Aadhaar card and PAN card are now mandatory for joining any company. The government has also linked the Aadhaar card to the Employees Provident Fund account and each employee has a unique Universal Account Number (UAN) for the provident fund," Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of NITES, said, adding it is not possible for two companies to submit an employee’s provident fund contribution in one month.

Is it legal in India?


Indian laws do not define moonlighting. According to media reports, the laws stated below regulate dual or double employment to a certain extent. The Factories Act, 1948, restricts an employer from requiring or allowing an adult worker to work in the factory on any day on which they have already been working in another factory.


Expert views


Dr Arvind Singhatiya, founder and CEO,, said moonlighting is legally wrong from confidentiality and professional liability perspective. It breaches confidentiality and liability of the employer. An employee during the time of joining signs on dotted lines to maintain confidentiality of company data and resources. Moonlighting invites unintended liability for his employer that poses a serious risk. Hence, it is illegal for any employee.


As a resource, an employer may accept his role as a consultant or a freelancer to provide his service to multiple options. As a freelancer or consultant his legal engagement with the firm will be transparent and would not pose any legal or moral dilemma. Always read your freelancer agreement carefully to check that your act is not violating any of its clauses.

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