Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Moonlighting: Overemployment or Underpayment

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : what is moonlighting.

Mains level : Impact of moonlighting on comapnies and employment.

MoonlightingContext

  • In July, Kotak Securities said in a study that at least 60% of 400 employees surveyed said they themselves had, or knew someone who had engaged in moonlighting.

What is mean by moonlighting?

  • Moonlighting is a state where employees work for remuneration with entities other than their employers. It is not defined in any of the statutes in India. However, there are enactments that deal with double employment.

MoonlightingHow does it affect companies and what are latest examples?

  • Wipro: According to Wipro CEO, there is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating plain and simple. The company sacked 300 employees following the discovery that they were working for rival firms on the side, leading to conflict of interest.
  • Infosys: Infosys has warned staff against moonlighting, saying it could lead to termination.
  • Effect of WFH: Another software firm DXC Technologies said that moonlighting by employees was a challenge for employers but that wouldn’t affect its WFH (work from home) policy that has worked well for both the firm and its staff.
  • Moonlighting policy: Swiggy announced a moonlighting policy’ that allows employees to pursue their passion for economic interests alongside their fulltime employment.”

MoonlightingWhat is the Legal status of moonlighting?

  • Factory act: Section 60 of the Factories Act deals with restriction on double employment stating that “No adult worker shall be required or allowed to work in any factory on any day on which he has already been working in any other factory, save in such circumstances as may be prescribed. However, this enactment is applicable only to employees working in factories.
  • The Tamil Nadu Shops & Establishments Act, 1947: There are State enactments which deal with employment of persons working in offices, banks, shops, etc. In Tamil Nadu, it is termed as The Tamil Nadu Shops & Establishments Act, 1947. However, there is no provision wherein dealing with dual employment.
  • Glaxo Laboratories (I) Limited vs Labour Court, Meerut and others: The apex court held that “The employer has hardly any extra territorial jurisdiction. He is not the custodian of general law and order situation or the Guru or mentor of his workmen for their well-regulated cultural advancement. If the power to regulate the behaviour of the workmen outside the duty hours and at any place wherever they may be was conferred upon the employer, contract of service may be reduced to contract of slavery.” This case was not specifically about moonlighting but the court’s observation gives us an idea as to how the law may view such cases.

MoonlightingWay forward

  • More earning: The Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Electronics and IT, said that employers should not to suppress employees who want to monetise, develop and demonstrate but also urged employees not to violate their agreements with employers.
  • Working hours: Moonlighting is subject to law of the land. The sphere of employment cannot be extended by the employer beyond working hours and outside his place of employment.
  • Socialistic view: The Courts of law in India dealing with employment are Writ Courts and Labour Courts, which exercise jurisdiction based on equity or fairness. Therefore, the Courts may lean in favour of the employee unless the contravention of the employee has led to serious prejudice and loss to the employer

Conclusion

  • Employees are not the slaves of employers. What they do beyond the working hours is none of the business of employer unless it affects company financially or causes substantial damage to business. Government should bring the legal statute to regulate moonlighting and prevent the unjustified punishment of employees.

Mains Question

Q. What is moonlighting? Why employees do moonlighting? Discuss the legal framework about moonlighting in India.

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