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CONCEPT OF MOONLIGHTING IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

Moonlighting is a practice when a worker performs a second job for extra income and outside of regular company hours.[1] In India, moonlighting has become more common as a result of increased job options brought about by globalization and market development. Although the Factories Act of 1948[2] outlines prohibitions on dual employment, moonlighting is not officially defined anywhere in India. The morality and legality of moonlighting have always been debatable; some think it should be allowed because it is an employee’s constitutional right to work after hours wherever they choose, while others think it hurts the business’s productivity, privacy, etc. To resolve the conundrum around the legality of moonlighting in India, it is necessary to comprehend the motivation behind moonlighting as well as the requirement for separate laws that govern moonlighting in India and specify the rights of both employers and employees.

LEGAL ASPECT

Moonlighting is permissible in countries like the USA, and the UK from a tax perspective[3], however, there is no specific law that regulates moonlighting culture in India. Section 60 of The Factories Act 1948[4], restricts double employment, this restriction is limited to the workers of the factory not permitted to work in a factory on a day when he has already worked in another workplace, except specified under certain predetermined, reported circumstances.[5] Similarly, Section 65 of the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act 1948[6], and Section 9 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954[7] lays down restrictions on double employment. But there are no laws related to moonlighting in other different sectors.

ADVANTAGES

There are various advantages of moonlighting cultures, such as:

Supplementary Income: Moonlighting helps employees to earn extra income apart from their fixed salary. It helps in countering rising inflation by allowing an individual to cover their expenses with extra income and help to generate additional income which not only will benefit the individual but will also contribute to the GDP of the country.[8]

Skill Development: Moonlighting helps an individual to learn new skills and learn new things. Increased competition in the market generated a need to learn new skills, which can be achieved by moonlighting culture. Moonlighting aids in experience acquisition and skill development, both of which are crucial for overall development and career prospects.[9]

Risk Diversification: Because revenue is not reliant on one particular work, moonlighting assists in diversifying income sources. This economic security fosters creativity and independence, which not only advances individuals’ professional growth but also provides the organization with new and inventive ideas.[10]

Networking and Connections: Moonlighting helps an individual to work with different people having specializations in different fields. These connections and networking provide employment opportunities for an individual for career growth, Additionally, networking increases social life opportunities by fostering relationships with other people.[11]

Creativity and Passion: Moonlighting helps an individual flow his/her passion while employed. Pursuing passion increases the creativity, productivity, and efficiency of an employee. It boosts an employee’s productivity by aiding with stress management.

Flexibility: It refers to the ability to schedule working hours for other employment in addition to the principal job. This allows an individual to balance professional and personal lives and avoid burnout.[12]

LIMITATIONS

Some limitations associated with moonlighting are:

Burnout and low concentration: Double employment can lead to mental and physical fatigue, which certainly leads to a lack of concentration on the primary job[13]. Focusing on two occupations will eventually impair an individual’s productivity and efficiency.

Privacy Concerns: The most serious dangers associated with moonlighting are data and privacy breaches. If the individual works for a rival company, the privacy of the principal employment may be compromised. Business secrets, procedures, and technology might all be jeopardized.

Conflict of Interest: If the employee is employed by a rival company, a conflict of interest can develop. Conflicts of interest will undoubtedly arise as a result of the usage of resources from primary employment and the revealing of private and sensitive information to rival companies.[14]

Absenteeism by Employee: The stress of working two jobs may force an employee to skip out on primary employment. Employees may consider taking time off from their primary jobs to handle the workload and exhaustion of additional jobs.

Time Management: To successfully perform two jobs, an employee must plan his time effectively to be effective and productive at both positions. Employees who work in major positions may perform poorly if they lack time management skills.

Stressed Relationships: Many people work two or more jobs to supplement their income, which compromises their personal and family time. Being unable to spend time with friends and family might sour the bond between them, which will have a negative psychological impact on the employee and ultimately lower their productivity.

WAY FORWARD

The dispute over whether moonlighting is lawful or not can be resolved by enacting precise regulations governing it. The requirement for multiple employment stems from a lack of acceptable pay, which forces employees to take on other work. A suitable wage for the employee will, to some extent, eliminate the problem of moonlighting. Adequate pay, job satisfaction, and monetary assistance can all help to overcome the problem of dual employment. Moonlighting culture can be reduced with proper awareness of the disadvantages of moonlighting. The government should also create rules to categorize professions that fall under the category of moonlighting and those that do not, such as double employment in highly competitive businesses, which should fall under the category of moonlighting due to privacy issues and others. New rules about moonlighting should also take into account emerging employment prospects like YouTubers and influencers who pursue these careers in addition to their day jobs. Moonlighting should be permitted in industries unrelated to the primary one. Although employers can only control their workers during working hours and cannot limit their freedom to work elsewhere, this freedom can only be protected if the employee’s primary job is not jeopardized by double employment, which may affect the employee’s productivity and efficiency, the privacy of the primary job, or both.

CONCLUSION

In India, the culture of moonlighting and dual jobs is expanding quickly. The benefits of moonlighting include additional income, skill development, risk diversification, networking and connections, creativity, and flexibility, while the drawbacks include burnout, privacy concerns, conflicts of interest, absenteeism, time management, strained relationships, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to enact rules that control moonlighting in India while taking into account all the benefits and drawbacks. New career opportunities are now available as a result of globalization and technological innovation, including part-time work as an online gamer, influencer on Instagram or YouTube, etc. The government should create rules that take into account all of these new employment alternatives as well as the requirements and circumstances of the workers who engage in multiple employment. Moonlighting is currently allowed because there is no explicit law that forbids it, except a handful that is mostly related to industrial labor. Employers and employees should be educated on moonlighting, which is why a standardized and explicit rule is needed.

Author(s) Name: Ruchit Yadav (Institute of Law, Nirma University)

References:

[1] Surabhi Shaurya, ‘What Is Moonlighting? EXPLAINED’ (India, 13 September 2022) <https://www.india.com/business/moonlighting-infosys-wipro-ban-moonlighting-what-does-it-mean-no-twin-timing-no-moonlighting-5629427/ > accessed 20 July 2023

[2] Factories Act 1948, s 60

[3] ‘Perspective – Moonlighting Culture’ (Drishti IAS, 21 September 2022) <https://www.drishtiias.com/loksabha-rajyasabha-discussions/perspective-moonlighting-culture > accessed 20 July 2023

[4] Factories Act 1948, s 60

[5] Factories Act 1948, s 60

[6] Bombay Shops and Establishment Act, 1948, s 65

[7] Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954, s 9

[8] ‘Moonlighting – A Challenge or An Opportunity’ (Business Insights, 23 November 2022) <https://www.taplowgroup.com/insights/blogs/moonlighting-a-challenge-or-an-opportunity> accessed 21 July 2023

[9] Larry Buhl, ‘Moonlighting: Pros and cons of a second job’ (Monster) <https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/moonlighting-pros-and-cons-of-a-second-job-hot-jobs> accessed 22 July 2023

[10] Sirali Gupta, ‘Moonlighting: What is moonlighting? Why are Wipro, and other companies against it?’ (Zee Business, 23 September 2022) <https://www.zeebiz.com/companies/news-moonlighting-what-is-moonlighting-why-are-wipro-other-companies-against-it-200314> accessed 24 July 2023

[11] Raveesh Sharma, ‘Moonlighting: Meaning, Benefits and Challenges – Explained, pointwise’ (Forum IAS, 7 November 2022) <https://blog.forumias.com/moonlighting-meaning-benefits-and-challenges/> accessed 24 July 2023

[12] ‘Moonlighting – A Challenge or An Opportunity’ (n 8)

[13] Manish Pandita, ‘Moonlighting: Pros, Cons and Reasons’ (Improve13) <https://improve13.com/moonlighting-pros-cons-and-reasons/> accessed 25 July 2023

[14] Satyajit Nath, ‘What is Moonlighting, Pros and Cons of Moonlighting’ (Satyajit Blogs, 4 January 2023) <https://satyajitblogs.com/what-is-moonlighting-pros-and-cons-of-moonlighting/#:~:text=Apart%20from%20advantages%2C%20Moonlighting%20have%20some%20disadvantages%20these,limitations%205%20Potential%20conflicts%20of%20interest%206%20Taxes> accessed 26 July 2023