Explained: What is moonlighting and if it’s legal in India

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is moonlighting and if it’s legal in India” published in TOI in 24th August 2022.

What is the News?

Swiggy has launched a Moonlighting Policy allowing its employees to work on their passion projects outside of their work (calling it a step towards a “remote-first organization”).

What is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting is the act of working at an extra job beyond regular working hours, usually without the knowledge of the employer. 

Since the side job was mostly at nighttime or on weekends, it was referred to as moonlighting. 

Why do people moonlight?

Moonlighting is a source of gaining extra profits.

Additionally, working in a different role can allow a person to develop new skills, explore related domains and connect with more people.

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.

What are the arguments against moonlighting?

Legal but may not be ethical: There is no overarching law which prohibits a person from doing multiple jobs. However, a person with a similar nature of jobs may spark breach of confidentiality issues.

Moonlighting adversely affects the day job and takes the focus off it. There is also a fear of leakage of confidential information in the primary job.

Can employees be fired because of moonlighting?

According to legal professionals, courts have in the past permitted employers to terminate employment in case of employers engaging in moonlighting.

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

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