On Saturday, Rishad Premji shared his opinion on moonlighting or the term used for when people undertake side jobs besides their day job. Wipro’s executive chairman Premji called moonlighting cheating, denouncing especially the tech workers or engineers who do this.

Rishad Premji

His tweet has got people talking about moonlighting, which some people do for more economic advantages. He tweeted, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry.  This is cheating – plain and simple.”

What Is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting refers to the practice of people who do extra projects or jobs while working as full-timers in one organization. It is a practice that is not received well in most companies, as it may take a toll on the person’s productivity in the primary job. Many organizations employ prohibitive provisions that place limitations in employment contracts. 

As the corporate world adjusted to the new COVID environment by moving from offices to personal spaces, it gave more scope for moonlighting. People in online work environments find it easier to do side gigs, which bring in more money.

Recently food tech start-up Swiggy allowed its employees to work on side projects for “economic consideration”. But the work has to be such that it does not interfere with Swiggy’s business, only filling up weekends or off-work hours. Also, employees have to screen their other jobs through internal approvals.

Other companies that encourage extra work include Fintech Unicorn Cred. Cred’s officials recently said that its heads of design and engineering are part of the Carnatic rock band Agam. But usually, most traditional companies prohibit moonlighting or external work on commercial terms.

Nasscom’s regional council chair for Noida had registered a complaint about moonlighting a few months back. Apparently, a person had been working for seven companies parallelly, subsequently getting caught by the HR of one of the firms, who found multiple PF accounts.

Read More: “It Is Called A Hustle, Sweetheart,” Taking Side Jobs Is A Brand Of Millennials

Tech Workers’ Opinions

Premji’s tweet has generated a lot of response and interest on the internet. Rahul Sasi, co-founder and CEO of Bangalore-based cybersecurity firm CloudSek, positioned himself in agreement with Premji’s opinion. He also claimed that side jobs interfere with the main day job, and shift focus from it.

Sasi said, “Some cyber security professionals take up consulting gigs for vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) that can be done remotely without visiting the client site, while continuing with their day jobs.”

Rahul Sasi

Vikram Shroff, head of HR law practice at law firm Nishith Desai Associates, believes that in the IT sector, employers mostly expect the employees to spend their time and energy for their interests. A distinction must be made between a second job and a side hustle that involves money, which Shroff claims is difficult for employers.

Shroff said that “any policy permitting moonlighting needs to be carefully planned and implemented, taking into consideration the nature of the relationship and including the factors where the individual could potentially cross the line.”

Young techies counter Premji’s labeling of moonlighting as cheating. One IT sector employee from Pune said, “The organization pays for my services for 40-45 hours every week, which I sincerely perform. What I do in my free time should not bother them.”

But then again Icha Pathak, an HR manager at a tech start-up elaborated on why moonlighting may be harmful. She said, “Freelancing in the same industry creates a conflict of interest. Employees might use the company provided tools and softwares for personal causes, which is ethically wrong.” She also mentioned that sharing sensitive information about the company may be detrimental.

Moonlighting is not anything new. A recent survey of 400 people across the IT and ITeS space by Kovak Institutional Equities revealed that a whopping 65 % of people are pursuing part-time jobs or moonlighting while doing work-from-home jobs.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Sources: Times of India, The Indian Express, Business Today

Image sources: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

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This post is tagged under: wipro, rishad premji, wipro executive, moonlighting, side gigs, side jobs, work from home, covid pandemic, pandemic allowed for side gigs, is moonlighting cheating, moonlighting can compromise a company’s safety, side gigs for more money, wipro’s premji called moonlighting cheating

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