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Infosys warns employees moonlighting could lead to termination

Infosys warned employees that dual employment is not permitted by its employee handbook and code of conduct.

September 23, 2022 / 11:07 AM IST

Infosys warned employees moonlighting could lead to termination in an email sent on September 12, echoing Wipro chairman Rishad Premji who had termed the practice as cheating.

"Remember - NO TWO-TIMING - NO MOONLIGHTING (sic)," the email sent by HR reads.

The email states it “strictly discourages dual employment”, and defines moonlighting as a practice of working on a second job during or outside of regular business hours.

The company said dual employment is not permitted by its employee handbook and code of conduct.

The offer letter, too, it said, states that the employee cannot take full-time or part-time employment in any business activity without the consent of Infosys.

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Infosys said any violation of clauses could even lead to the termination of employment.

It added that the shift to remote work has seen an uptick in moonlighting. The email said it has become easier, especially for IT employees, to hold a second job without their primary employer knowing. “This can pose serious challenges to our business such as impact on productivity, job performance, risk of data and confidential information leakage, etc," it read.

A survey by Kotak Institutional Equities of 400 IT/ITeS employees in July revealed that 65 percent of respondents either were engaged in part-time opportunities during work-from-home (WFH) or knew a colleague who was.

The practice of moonlighting has been a cause for concern for IT companies, as they continue to struggle with increased attrition and face a tough business environment.

Former Infosys director and Aarin Capital co-founder TV Mohandas Pai had earlier told Moneycontrol that employees are bound by an employment agreement and its terms, but apart from that, are free to do what they want as long as they are not using company’s IP, its assets or anything else.

The key question, however, he had said, is that companies should ask why employees want to moonlight, particularly if they are being paid less.

Experts earlier told Moneycontrol that companies should look at framing a policy where employees can disclose information regarding outside gigs they are taking on and encourage transparency, and said that moonlighting is likely to continue.

On the other hand, they also questioned if managements have the wherewithal and ability to look into what employees do outside of work.

K Pandiarajan, Executive Chairman of CIEL HR Services told Moneycontrol that reporting standards for employees now are much tighter, but believes that upto a third of all IT employees engage in some form of moonlighting.

How companies looking to clamp down on moonlighting by their employees will enforce the same is the million-dollar question, he says. One of the ways it can be done is using software that records the activity of employees on the device they are using, which can be used to cross-check any claims the employee may make. This kind of software, he says, is being installed by some of the company’s clients.

He says that systems need to recognise the change in society that people may have more than one source of income, and that the idea that one person will only work for one company and be loyal only to it is changing. “Companies will also need to learn to be flexible or create cadres which will consciously work for more than one company. I see nothing wrong with it, it is a clear social trend. The law will need to readjust to the reality of the society in my view,” he said.

 
Haripriya Suresh
first published: Sep 13, 2022 09:04 am
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