MOONLIGHTING: Path Of Improvement Or Violation Of Ethics




As there is a rapid growth in the economy all around the world, so is the increase in inflation and remote work , some workers have taken the way of moonlighting to meet the necessities of day to day life. It has become a way of life for some employees around the globe. Moonlighting is simply having a second job simultaneously with the first job. The term ‘Moonlighting’ by its name means, working after the day ends or working at night or on weekends. The work from home (WFH) operating model has resulted in unsaid work among Indian workers. This is currently leading to corporate compliance issues and has also sparked debate about whether this is the future of the gig economy.


What is Moonlighting?

The practice of working in one organization and at the same time working into some other organization or industry is named as Moonlighting. This term got into light when Americans started considering a second job in addition to the usual 9-5 job. The significant reason for opting for moonlighting mostly is said to be obtaining financial stability and to deal with income fluctuations .Another reasons can be Lack of appreciation by the seniors, utilizing the free time and many more. In addition to that, COVID-19 Pandemic and a new emerging trend of WORK FROM HOME is encouraging employees to take up new hobbies or activities which they couldn’t do during the office-work time. Moonlighting is altogether different from Freelancing. In moonlighting, the person is delivering the role and working as an EMPLOYEE (a full-time employee holds multiple jobs) but on the other hand, Freelancer is not an employee of any company or organization. It is self-employed and provides services to multiple organization. For instance, A 9-5 lawyer is taking law classes after 9-5 is a kind of moonlighting. But dual employment is mostly practiced due to financial reasons. There are certain types of Moonlighting, which are as follows:


  1. Blue Moonlighting: Blue moonlighting is a failed attempt of earning the income gap which they can’t fill by the primary job they have. In the efforts of earning more, the employee has to work more which leads to trying to manage two jobs a day. The situation where managing two jobs is quite hectic and tends to fail is called Blue Moonlighting.
  2. Half Moonlighting: To fulfill the wish of living the life one has dreamed of , employees tend to spend more time in the secondary job and rather than in the primary job.
  3. Quarter Moonlighting: Not all the secondary jobs will also be full-time jobs. It can be part-time jobs as well. The Moonlighting job which is less time consuming than the primary job is called Quarter Moonlighting.
  4. Full Moonlighting: The situation where the employee is managing two full-time jobs at the same time is called Full Moonlighting. It’s not necessarily have to be a secondary job but it can also be a business. Some employees run a full-fledged business while working in some organization as a full-time employee.


Laws relating to Moonlighting in India:

Indian law doesn’t specify what moonlighting is. The legislation in India does not entirely ban moonlighting However, double employment is somewhat regulated by the legislation listed below.

  1. According to the section 60 of Factories Act of 1948, an employer is prohibited from demanding or permitting an adult employee to work in the factory on days when they have already worked in another workplace. The OSH Code’s prohibition on dual employment of employees who work in a mine or factory is largely equivalent to the prohibition outlined in the Factories Act. However, this only applies to manufacturing workers and does not apply to other occupations. An employee may moonlight if there is no non-compete clause and no prohibition against multiple employment in the employment letter.
  2. According to the model standing orders under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules of 1946, a worker shall never, at any time, act contrary to the interests of the industrial establishment in which they are employed.
  3. In reference to Section 65 of the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act, 1948 the act states the Restriction on double employment on a holiday or during leave. No employee shall work in any establishment, nor shall any employer knowingly permit an employee to work in any establishment, on a day on which the employee is given a holiday or is on leave in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  4. Section 9 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954 directs the Restriction on double employment. -No person shall work about the business of an establishment or two or more establishments or an establishment and a factory in excess of the period during which he may be lawfully employed under this Act.

All these sections come in the purview of regulations regarding dual employment by some way or other but it doesn’t put a blanket ban on moonlighting.

Moonlighting leading to the path of improvement:

One of the biggest benefits of taking on a second job is the ability to expand your network of colleagues and associates. having a second job(engaging into moonlighting) can also extend the opportunities and develop a sort of tunnel vision for those who are unable to see beyond their role in the current job. When companies cut staff, workers with coveted and in-demand skills tend to be the last to be laid off. So keeping these skills up to date can protect your primary source of income. There are no-doubt multiple ways of learning new things but moonlighting helps to earn while the person learns which helps in financial help as well as mental satisfaction of doing something out of the box. Extra income is always attractive, but it’s not the only reason to look for another job opportunity. Some do it out of passion, others out of boredom. Moonlighting is in a way helping the employed person to work more for the financial stability and conservation of the hobbies they have and couldn’t pursue.

Moonlighting is enhancing its horizon all over the world and different countries have different say on it. According to US Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, the multiple jobholding rate has increased to 7.2% in 2018 from 6.8% in 1996.More women than men in the United States have multiple jobs. In the United States, employers tend to enforce disclosure policies with their employees to avoid conflicts of interest and the use of office resources for other work.

A website called Over Employed was also started by an American worker who plans to do the same, offering tips for managing two jobs and discussing the ethics of secretly taking on another.


Is it a violation of ethics?

While staying competent and productive is crucial, moonlighting may be a way to avoid disengagement, learn new things, and expand your enthusiasm. Moonlighting defeats the fundamental purpose of rest hours, holidays, and leave, while also having a negative impact on workers’ physical and mental health and contributing to burnout. Losing expertise, data, and technology to rivals will also be a threat to the employer.

From a taxation standpoint, over employment, also known as dual employment in India, is technically acceptable in the US and the UK. Although a second job in the UK may change a worker’s tax status, the first employer’s payroll department wouldn’t be specifically informed of this, and in larger organizations, it’s likely that it would go unnoticed.

Some of the top level authorities of IT companies are referring to moonlighting as cheating. Taking into consideration the contract act, If an employee’s contract contains non-compete clauses and sole employment, Moonlighting may be considered charting. This is the case for most traditional employment contracts. However, it is not fraud if the employment contract does not contain such clauses or facilitation. Under the Factory Act, side jobs are prohibited. However, some states exempt IT companies from this rule.

Regular practice for doctors consulting after hours, teachers engaged in coaching, consultants and freelancers working for multiple companies, volunteers, and employees engaged in artistic and creative forms such as music, singing and drama is. Social media and immediate adoption. However, problems arise when you work under two formal legal agreements and also work for a competing company. The companies where the employee is working at the same time are borne to be a threat to privacy. The employee has access to confidential information which is dangerous if it is disclosed to any other unauthorized person or a company and the employer might face serious inconvenience due to the same; leads to violation of ethics by the employee.

This is one of the key eason of showing distrust and not agreeing to the concept of Moonlighting by the employees. The IT industry is divided when it comes to undeclared work. Some say it’s unethical, others believe its necessary now but fail to reach the conclusion.


Recent incidents relating to moonlighting:

  1. Wipro fired 300 employees for moonlighting – The Chairman of Wipro, Mr.Rishad Premji, while criticizing moonlighting and abiding its stand against it ,fired 300 employees saying that there’s no place for an employee who choose to work directly with the rivals while being on wipro payroll. Moonlighting is a complete violation of integrity in its deepest form and they considers it unethical for the employees to practice. Mr.Rishad Premji stated moonlight as “plain and simple cheating”.
  2. Tech Mahindra CEO, Mr. C.P. Gurnani supports moonlighting: Tech Mahindra CEO C.P. Gurnani joins the debate on moonlighting and gives his favor about the same by giving a nod to his employees for working the extra hours after working in Tech Mahindra and asking the employees/workers to have an open mind about the same.
  3. Swiggy’s new Moonlight Policy: Swiggy has announced a new “moonlighting” policy for its delivery personnel, which allows its employees to take up gigs or projects outside of their regular employment at the company. Swiggy said that along with a full-time job at Swiggy, employees will be allowed to pick up additional projects outside work and the company will support them. For this purpose, the gigs or temporary work will be categorized.
  4. Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Mr.Rajeev Chandrasekhar, referring to the controversial issue of moonlighting stated that Software companies need to understand the changing mindset of their young, ‘entrepreneurial’ workforce. Companies that try to prevent employees from working on their own startups or consulting for other companies are “doomed to failure.” Moonlighting represents two very important phenomena. One is the entrepreneurial mistake that has haunted all technologists. The second is talent shortage or demand. When companies forbid or discourage young engineers from trying startups, they don’t understand the changing model.


Can Moonlighting be seen as the future?

In the present changing time, the work culture is evolving – people want to have a plan B for everything that they do. It is quite reasonable to see multiple incomes especially given a point of time where the economy is so unstable. People also want to hone different skill sets .Showing proactive approach towards moonlighting, set some performance expectations, draft a policy that protects confidential information, define conflict of interest, tell the employee where the company is drawing the red line are some of the ways companies can put up some required restriction on the employees at the same time give them a open window to do whatever they want to do while abiding the framework. Allowing employees to moonlight also projects the company as a progressive and development oriented company. Today there’s a growing opportunity to moonlight. There are multiple portals offering part-time or project-based jobs like UPWORK, TOPTAL, JOOBLE and it comes with ample opportunity for various skill sets. Work from home has given a lot of time to people to moonlight and many of them are monetizing the same to earn some extra money.

Why moonlighting worries employers is :

  1. It could lead to conflict of interest
  2. Breach of confidentiality
  3. Misusing company resources like laptops.
  4. Moonlighting could lead to absenteeism and fatigue and these are all valid concerns.

But on the other hand, those who are in favor of Moonlighting have a stand that If an employee can afford to do more and earn more then why shouldn’t he/she? As long as it doesn’t get in the way of the primary job. An employee who is constantly learning something new and bringing something new to the table is always an asset.



Factories act is the only statute which states that dual employment in India is prohibited but it is limited only to laborers. The Act is silent about all the other working sectors. The most important document in the context of moonlighting is the employment contract. Its terms and conditions decide whether the employee can pick another job or not. The clauses like SINGLE EMPLOYMENT and NON-COMPETE throws lights to the actual validation of Moonlight. If an employee doesn’t have any of these two clauses, then it’s safe to say that he can Moonlighting and it is legal for them. Similarly, with the United States of America and the United Kingdom, as long as you are paying the taxes on the money you are earning, you are good to go.

Legally, there’s a green light for moonlighting. Speaking of whether moonlighting is ethical or not, an employee has 24 hours a day from which the employer demands 9 hours for the work. So, the remaining 15 hours is the employee’s personal time and he owes no explanation to anyone on what he wants to do in his remaining 15 hours. Moonlighting has a lot to do with progressing steps and financial stability and very less to do with breach of ethics.



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