To moonlight or not?
Is it cheating or not?
Is it your right or not?
You must have come across the debate on moonlighting that has ensued in the Indian professional industry, especially IT. Most notably, Wipro chairman Rashid Premji's tweet calling moonlighting "cheating" is what has triggered a barrage of opinions.
There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating - plain and simple.— Rishad Premji (@RishadPremji) August 20, 2022
First, what is moonlighting? Moonlighting is a term that defines employed professionals having a second job or multiple jobs along with their primary job. This concept is not new, but the debate that's raging on LinkedIn India and elsewhere is.
Why is it in the news? There have been reports for some time this year, that a lot of people employed in the Indian IT sector have been juggling more than one job due to the work-from-home policy and that it is reportedly affecting their productivity.
That's how Premji's comment on Twitter came to be.
Now, to the debate: Is moonlighting wrong? There is an ethical and legal angle to this question.
People like Rashid Premji are of the belief that moonlighting is unethical. But a lot of others are of the belief that if moonlighting doesn't hurt the productivity at the primary job and is not in conflict with the company's interests, then there is nothing wrong with it.
Legally speaking, the Indian Factories Act is ambiguous on moonlighting. However, some employment contracts have clauses against moonlighting or double employment, so if an employee is breaching the terms of the contract, there may be legal consequences or the primary company may just let go of the employee.
What are people saying about moonlighting?
Former director of Indian IT giant, Infosys, Mohandas Pai, told Business Today, that there is nothing wrong with moonlighting.
Food ordering app, Swiggy, embraced moonlighting recently in a new policy addition. Swiggy's moonlighting policy allows employees to take up a second job upon a few conditions - namely, not impacting productivity or being in a conflict of interest with the company.
Mint reported Tech Mahindra MD CP Gurnani, saying that moonlighting is not rampant and that his organisation would "make a policy" to allow employees to take up multiple jobs openly.
Co-founder and CEO of Games2Win, Alok Kejriwal, wrote in his LinkedIn post that moonlighting cannot be happening if the work distribution and employee management is smooth.
Arjun Prakash, founder at Pivot, a career advising firm, says that companies complaining about moonlighting, the great resignation and quiet quitting, is double standards. He says when the same companies can hire, fire, lay off, cut payment, delay payment, etc on their own wishes, why should they question an employee trying to make some side money?
Others pointed out how employees resorting to moonlighting are mostly those who are being underpaid.
Another user said that "leaders have to get used to not "owning" all of the employees' time".
Why do employees resort to moonlighting? There are various reasons for an employed person to take up multiple gigs -
What do you think, should employees be allowed to have multiple jobs?