After Wipro, India’s second biggest IT services company Infosys has warned employees against ‘moonlighting’, saying it could lead to termination of their service with the company. "At Infosys, dual employment is not permitted as per the Employee Handbook and the Code of Conduct. As clearly stated in your offer letter," an email sent by the HR to its employees reads.
Titled "No Double Lives", the email of the IT services giant says employees "agree not to take employment, whether full-time or part-time as director/partner/member/employee of any other organisation or entity engaged in any form of business activity without the consent of Infosys."
The consent may be given subject to any terms and conditions that the company may think fit and can also be withdrawn at any time at its discretion, the letter adds. "Any violation of the clauses will lead to disciplinary action, which would even lead to termination of employment.”
For the unversed, the term moonlighting refers to the practice of working on a second job or multiple other work assignments during normal business hours or outside business hours. Dual employment in India means being employed by more than one employer at the same time.
Pune-based union tech employees’ union NITES (Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate) has strongly condemned Infosys’ warning. "IT employees are working more than 9 hours a day without any overtime benefits. Would there be any energy or time left if an employee is working 10-12 hours a day? Also, many IT companies have developed monitoring systems to measure employee productivity. Employees have a contract to work with Infosys for 9 hours only. What the employees do outside working hours is their prerogative," says Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of NITES. As per NITES, Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides the right to livelihood to every citizen, hence such emails are "illegal and unethical".
Infosys' stand on 'moonlighting' is similar to what Wipro chairman Rishad Premji had said last month. The tech services giant chief had said that it's nothing but "cheating". "There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating - plain and simple," he had tweeted.
Despite contrary views by two of India's biggest IT services companies, the trend of 'ethical moonlighting' is rising. While the idea of working outside your job hours is not something new, over the last two years, primarily due to working from home amid Covid, this trend has just snowballed.
Last month, food delivery startup Swiggy introduced a new ‘moonlighting policy’, which allows employees to pick up additional projects outside work. Any project or activity that is taken up outside office hours or on the weekend, without affecting productivity, and does not have a conflict of interest, can be picked up by the employees, says the company.
The Infosys share closed 0.57% up at ₹1,545 on the NSE today.