Companies trying to prevent their employees from ‘consulting for other firms’ are indulging in an exercise that is ‘doomed to fail,’ said Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, as he joined the ongoing debate on the controversial practice known as ‘Moonlighting.’
“Moonlighting represents two very significant phenomena. One, the entrepreneurial bug that has bitten every techie. Two, the talent deficit or demand for talent. For a company to forbid a young engineer from dabbling in a startup…they (companies) do not understand the change in model,” Chandrasekhar said on Friday. I have made this statement to Economic Times on the sidelines of the ninth edition of the annual Public Affairs Forum of India.
“Employees want to achieve multiple things with their skills. My strong recommendation to the industry is ‘do not try and suppress that’ because its an idea whose time has come,” the Minister of State for Electronics and IT further said.
However, the minister also agreed that individuals with contractual obligations should follow the contract instead of violating it.
What is Moonlighting?
People moonlight if they take up a job in addition to their primary work, and without the knowledge of present employers. This secondary job can be done only after the regular 9-5 or 9-6 work hours, ie during the night, and hence the reference to moon.
Also Read: What is ‘moonlighting’, the practice Infosys warned its employees against
In India, dual employment is disallowed under the Factories Act. However, some IT firms are exempted from that rule. Therefore, tech companies are split over the ethics of Moonlighting. Swiggy allows its staff to take up external projects while still being on its payroll, though Wipro recently sacked as many as 300 employees for taking up a second job. Infosys, meanwhile, warned its employees against secondary employment.