Everything You Need to Know About Moonlighting

Everything You Need to Know About Moonlighting

Everything You Need to Know About Moonlighting

Have you ever heard of the term ‘Moonlighting’? What exactly does it mean? In simpler words, this refers to the practice of working a second job, also known as side hustles or side gigs, which has grown in popularity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moonlighting is not a new phenomenon. It's always been a possibility. The difference now is that it is the new reality, particularly in the IT industry. As expected, many employers and businesses are completely opposed to this concept. They believe that dual employment causes productivity loss, leaks data, and is a contract violation.

“There is a lot of discussion about people moonlighting in the technology sector. Rishad Premji, Executive Chairman of Wipro, one of the biggest IT companies in India, tweeted, "This is cheating, plain and simple. About 300 employees were recently let go by Wipro Ltd. for moonlighting.

What is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting is referred to as the practice of multiple or dual employment. This is when an employee holds multiple jobs. For example, an employee working a 9-5, while also holding a part-time job that he needs to attend post the 9-5. This could be either in different industries or within the same field, under a rival company. Either way, it is considered moonlighting.

Freelancing, however, is different from moonlighting. This is because freelancers, despite working on different assignments and projects regardless of their first job, are not employees. Freelancers are self-employed and are not on 2 different employment contracts as opposed to those working 2 full-time jobs.

The Side Hustle Era: The Employee’s POV

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a former colleague, wherein she mentioned that she had been working 2 jobs simultaneously; one 9-5 and one remotely where she had the freedom to work from anywhere and during her desired times. The first question that immediately popped into my head was, “How do you find the time and the energy? Most of us can barely keep up with one job!” And she said that she liked the idea of having two sources of income despite both of those jobs demanding a lot from her and taking up all the free time she had left after her first job.

We live in the era of side hustle. Hustling in today’s world is a culture and for many people, a lifestyle. The period of the lockdown has had its fair share of impacts and tragedies. The pandemic has harmed job seekers and working professionals both. Many have lost their jobs and their only streams of income. This has led to many workers seeking out other jobs on the side to keep their options open. Upon losing their jobs, many people are afraid of relying on one job in case they experience fallout once more. Employees start looking into side hustles with the hopes of having a backup in case things ever go south again.

So, why do people put themselves through this? Why sacrifice the little time that you get after your day jobs for a secondary one and devote all your time to work? There are many reasons why employees willingly choose to work harder and monetize their free time for personal benefit­s, such as:

  • Fear of losing jobs

Most working professionals these days are insecure about their work situations. They often fear losing their jobs and their only sources of income. The working class was severely affected by the pandemic, and many people are afraid that they might lose their jobs again due to unforeseen circumstances. Employees are not covered by backup plans that corporations may have in the event that the company fails due to economic changes. They decide to fill their free time with a different job because they feel that they have no choice but to have a Plan B.

  • Having an additional source of income

It goes without saying that money is a very important part of our lives. Everybody knows that no matter how much you earn, it is human nature to always want or strive for more. Regardless of how much a person makes per day or per hour, he/she might want to double that or just increase it by sacrificing the hours that are left off in the day into something that provides them with more returns.

  • Paying off debts/loans

An employee that’s knee-deep in debt and must constantly look for ways to pay it off is probably one of the first ones to look for alternative options like additional ways of making money to take care of his/her financial situation. These employees lack focus in their primary jobs but are very motivated to make the best of the situation. To add onto their personal debts, often times the organization is also at fault as they do not provide enough resources and expect the employee to pay from his/her pocket. This puts a strain on the employee’s wallet and leads him to seeking other ways of earning money.

  • Desire to follow one’s passion

For some, it is not so much about the money as it is about getting the chance to follow their passions. Employees with a full-time job may not find the resources to give it up and go hunting for their true passion. So, while their secondary jobs may not be as financially supportive, people opt for them in hopes of being able to explore their interests while not losing their main source of income.

  • Upskilling through the means of creativity

In hopes of finding an alternative to their mundane work life, workers seek out other jobs that are purely just good for the soul, without prioritizing the monetary gains. By the thought of keeping their heart happy, many believe that igniting their creative side through side gigs helps them in turn by performing better at their primary jobs because they can look at tasks from different perspectives and utilize the skills they gain elsewhere.

  • A change of career

Some people might want to consider changing careers in addition to pursuing their passions. Most people who want to pursue some of the less well-known and niche careers find it difficult to leave their secure jobs, so they take on two jobs in the hopes that they will eventually gain enough experience in the other field to permanently switch careers. People were better able to divide their time between two jobs and advance in each one thanks to the new norm of flexible working hours.

  • The feeling of being undervalued or underpaid

Employees feel underappreciated for all they do despite working hard and giving their all to the job. They start to feel like they are going nowhere and lose faith in the organisation. They become resentful as a result of this frustration, and eventually they start looking for better opportunities where they will be valued. Instead of immediately quitting, they maintain their options by keeping an eye out for better opportunities that they may eventually begin to rely on as a profession.

Consequences of Dual Employment: The Employer’s POV

Although employees are only trying to make better use of their time by being more productive and open to other opportunities despite already having obligations related to their jobs, many businesses, especially IT firms, are vehemently opposed to the idea. They believe that having so many responsibilities may reduce the employee’s productivity and may take a toll on his/her health due to additional work stress, be it mental or physical. Along with the concern of productivity loss and health issues that come with it, companies believe that this is a breach of trust and confidentiality, and many have called this “cheating.” Due to all the issues that arise from moonlighting, businesses are against the idea., like:

  • Revenue and productivity loss

Moonlighting has gotten a lot of companies on edge. They worry that having employees involved in additional work or services could negatively affect their business and turn out to be a liability because it might compromise the quality of their work and eventually reduce productivity for both the employee and the company.

  • Conflict of interest

Employers believe that working for another company, whether a rival one or not, is a conflict of interest. They worry that employees might divulge trade secrets or leak sensitive information. According to them, moonlighting is a breach of data and confidentiality.

  • Misuse of company property and resources

Employers fear that their workers might use the company resources for their secondary jobs, such as office laptops for other gigs, and this will drive up the company’s operational expenses.

  • Physical fatigue or burnout

Long work hours and working multiple shifts a day, the employee is bound to be drained, both physically and mentally. People wishing to utilise their time wisely might simply want to be more productive. However, not having a break and overworking yourself adversely leads to being distracted and unproductive with all the tasks and responsibilities. The employee is forced to multitask and is not able to perform well at either job.

  • Inferior quality output

More responsibility calls for higher levels of stress. Due to having too much on his plate, the employee quits and disregards his duties. Due to the additional work that has been added, there are now two or more deadlines that must be met. As a result of pressure and neglect, the quality suffers.

Is Moonlighting Illegal in the UK?

There is no law in the UK that prevents dual employment. People are free to do whatever they wish to in their free time, given that it doesn’t affect or harm the company and its resources. Although it is not illegal to work two jobs at the same time in the UK, it is not always advisable to do so. It ultimately leads to poor performance and employer irritation.

How To Identify Moonlighting?

There are multiple measures that employers can take prior to hiring the employee in order to identify and prevent moonlighting, such as:

  • Additions to the employment contract: Employers can insert a non-compete clause in the contract to ensure that it is mentioned that employers must not engage with rival businesses or start a competing business upon joining their organisation.
  • Annual/half-yearly revision of wages: Employers should provide frequent revision of minimum wages, so the employee does not feel the need to look for a secondary source of income. Employers must take care of their needs and ensure that the funds are sufficient for the worker. Providing benefits and incentives also goes a long way in adding value.
  • Full disclosure of second employment: Employee must notify employer of their second job and obtain permission before starting it. They must attest that working for another company won't affect their position or performance, that they are not related, and that they won't be using the same resources. The employer is permitted to take on the second job if it is deemed appropriate.
  • Conducting background check by employer: This is one of the most failproof ways that employers can guarantee that the employee does not have any records of dual employment and that the organisation continues to run smoothly. Background check by employer like, Social media screeningEmployment reference checkAdverse credit check etc.give you the full picture of the employee’s professional history and disclose any malpractices that have been taking place throughout the employment. This eliminates the risk of losing business secrecy.

The Takeaway

There are many schools of thought when it comes to moonlighting. It’s safe to say that it varies from organization to organization, and it goes to both parties; the employer and the employee to maintain integrity. Employers must state in the code of conduct that their company calls for single employment and employees must disclose their second employment to the primary employer in order to avoid conflict of interest.

When it comes to the employer, there are many strategies that can be adopted that help in identifying or curbing moonlighting, as stated above. The method of conducting background check by employer on new hires is one of the most effective ways of checking the candidate’s employment history. This can be done on existing employees as well. Background check by employer mitigate the risks of losing business secrecy, revenue or productivity loss and ensure the optimal utilization of your company resources.

At Complygate, we provide a variety of background checks like Employment History CheckRight to Work Check, Identity Check and many more, that help verify your candidate’s claims and give you the full report of their professional history, all of which in turn help in protecting you and your organization from hiring the wrong individuals. This can further prevent your organization from any additional liabilities and save you from a world of pain. Click here to get started.

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