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What is Moonlighting? Is Moonlighting Legal or Illegal?

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Moonlighting is one of the hot topics in the gig economy. It has seen a significant rise, especially amidst this WFH model or remote working culture after the global pandemic. There is a lot of debate around the legitimacy of moonlighting in employment sectors. While some people show support for moonlight, some really oppose it. And thus there arise multiple concerns:

  • is moonlighting ethical?,
  • can you be fired for moonlighting?,
  • pros and cons of moonlighting,
  • can employers prohibit moonlighting?,
  • and many more!
What is Moonlighting? Is Moonlighting Legal or Illegal?


This blog will look at what Moonlighting is, why it is a hot topic today, what are the pros and cons of Moonlighting and whether is it legal in India. Let’s get started! 

What is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting is the practice of holding a second job or taking on additional work outside of one’s primary job. The term is often used to refer to workers who hold two jobs, but it can also apply to those who work extra hours outside of their regular job or take on freelance work. There are several types of moonlighting – Blue Moonlighting, Quarter Moonlighting, Half Moonlighting, and Full Moonlighting.

There are a variety of reasons why someone might choose to moonlight. For some, it is a way to earn additional income to help make ends meet. For others, it may be a way to gain experience in the desired field or follow their passion or save up for a specific goal, such as a down payment on a house.

Whatever the reason, moonlighting can be a challenging endeavor. Balancing two jobs can be difficult, and it can be difficult to find the time to fit in additional work. It is important to be organized and to plan ahead to make sure that both jobs are given the attention they deserve.

Is Moonlighting Ethical?

There are a few schools of thought on this subject. Some people believe that moonlighting is ethical because it allows people to earn extra money to support themselves or their families. Others believe that moonlighting is unethical because it takes away from the time that people could be spending with their families or on leisure activities.

We can look into this with perspectives – First, moonlighting is ethical under certain circumstances. If someone is able to balance their work and personal life effectively, then it is perfectly fine for them to work a second job. Second, if someone is working so much that they are neglecting their personal life or working without informing their prime job, then that is when it may become unethical.

Is Moonlighting Legal?

Although there’s not a pin-point law that completely bans the moonlighting practice, the answer to legal or illegal depends on multiple factors including employment agreements with the respective companies, work policies & laws, etc. For instance, Moonlighting could be considered cheating if an employee is already contracted to another company and working for them full-time. However, if the employee is only working a few hours a week for another company, it might not be seen as cheating. It all depends on the contract that the employee has signed.

However, if your company does have a strict policy against moonlighting, then you might want to think twice before doing it. After all, it is your job and you don’t want to risk getting caught and losing your livelihood. Nevertheless, many IT companies in India do allow dual employment or moonlighting.

Before starting a side hustle or launching a business, employees should take a close look at their employment contract to make sure they’re complying with any moonlighting policies. Just as it’s important for bakers to follow recipes to create delicious cakes, it’s crucial for employees to adhere to their employment contracts to avoid any legal trouble.

Employers’ Response To Moonlighting Scenario:

Recently, Rishad Premji, Chairman of Wipro tweeted about the moonlight practice – “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.” Not only this, a few days later, Wipro fired around 300 employees for ‘moonlighting’.

In addition, Infosys has also warned their employees about moonlighting by sending out emails that indicated that the practice can even lead to the termination of their employment.

Other IT giants including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL, etc. have also expressed their views against moonlighting practice or dual employment scenarios.

Although you need to know leading startups like Swiggy are coming out in support of the “Moonlighting” policy for employees.

With the Moonlighting Policy, our goal is to encourage employees to pursue their passion without any constraints due to their full-time employment with us. This is yet another step in our journey towards building a world-class ‘people first’ organization.” Girish Menon, Head of Human Resources at Swiggy.

Pros of Moonlighting:

There are a number of pros to moonlighting, including:

1. Extra Income

Obviously, the biggest pro of moonlighting is that it can provide you with extra income. This can be helpful if you are struggling to make ends meet or if you simply want to boost your savings.

2. Better Exposure and Learning Opportunities

Moonlighting can also offer you more industry exposure and learning opportunities. This is because you can grow your professional network, learn new skills, get better career opportunities, etc.

3. Variety

If you get bored easily, moonlighting can offer some much-needed variety. This is because you can often try out different roles and industries, which can be a refreshing change in your day-to-day life.

4. Experience

Moonlighting can also be a great way to gain experience, particularly if you are looking to change careers. This is because you can try out different roles and get a feel for what you might like (or dislike) before making any major decisions.

Cons of Moonlighting:

There are a few potential downsides to moonlighting, which include:

  1. It can be challenging to juggle two jobs, especially if they have conflicting schedules.
  2. You may end up working more hours than you want or need to in order to make ends meet.
  3. There is always the potential for conflict between your primary and secondary employers.
  4. You may have to sacrifice some benefits (e.g. vacation days, health insurance) that you would receive if you only had one job.

Overall, moonlighting can be a great way to earn extra income and gain new skills and experiences. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.

Parting Words:

Moonlighting is a common practice that allows people to have a secondary source of income. Though it is a good way to make money, it is a little difficult. Lastly, Moonlighting is not for everyone. Before starting your second job, talk to your employer about it and make sure it doesn’t violate the company’s laws or policies. 

Last Updated : 18 Oct, 2022
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