What is Moonlighting

Work from home has resulted in professionals taking up a side hustle to increase their income



R. Shandilya

Legal Counsel

Author Bio:

Legal Counsel

Look for me by moonlight;

Watch for me by moonlight;

I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

(From the Highwayman poem by Alfred Noyes)

Looks like all hell has broken loose for those who intend to pursue "un-official" work after hours (hence the quaint name moonlighting")

Would-be two-timers have been branded as "cheats"....the CEO of one IT services major has called moonlighting cheating plain and simple.

*Moonlighting = have a second job, typically secretly and at night, in addition to one's regular employment

Moonlighting is the practice of holding a non-employee position in addition to one or more employee positions. Moonlight is from the French maitriser, meaning master; and the noun for the master was maitre, which in turn came from Latin magistrare “to command,” conscriptio “enlistment,” and so forth.

With industry leaders and even a minister weighing in on the current debate...

It might be helpful to know what the law provides leaving the ethical bit out for the moment.

# Apparently the Factories Act 1948, India has some restrictions on a person working with two employers

# similar restrictions in some of the Shops and Establishments Acts of India

# will a restrictive covenant against two jobs in an employment agreement for those not coming under the definition of "workman" -- fall foul of sec 27 of the Indian Contract Act 1872, which says agreements in restraint of trade (ie restraints on anyone exercising a lawful profession, trade or business) shall be void


Source: Unsplash

It can hardly be said preventing a person from working for two employers is a restraint on trade...the conflicts of interests alone should be a valid argument for the restriction

Reasons for Moonlighting:

  • Increase in income
  • Job security in the competitive job market
  • Testing one's skills-set
  • Looking for an alternate job opportunity that is flexible
  • Learning additional skills
  • Utilization of free time from work

Since this issue has now cropped up in the IT services industry.

I am sure there will be some smart startup providing MaaS

....Moonlighting as a Service

The time-tested solution probably for employers would be to give just that much time for physical and mental rest and rejuvenation between official hours which is sufficient for productivity.

Like productivity seen in half the watchmen in residential buildings in the major cities -- who typically do more than one shift and at different locations and are always dozing off on their job throughout the day!

I think more and more organizations should embrace the 90-hour working week.

Too much idle time is the root of so many problems!!

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