Moonlighting is the term for the practise of working for one organisation while concurrently taking on additional responsibilities and employment, usually without the employer’s knowledge. The term “side job” refers to a job that is often done after hours or on the weekends. When Americans started seeking for second occupations in addition to their usual 9-to-5 work to support their income, the expression gained notoriety. Maintaining competence and productivity while avoiding disengagement, picking up new abilities, and igniting passion may all be possible through moonlighting.

Moonlighting may also be in conflict with the primary goals of downtime, breaks, and vacations, as well as having a detrimental effect on employees’ physical and emotional well-being and causing burnout.

In the US and the UK, multiple work, often known as over employment, is technically acceptable from a tax viewpoint. A second job in the UK could change a worker’s tax status, but it wouldn’t be specifically acknowledged as such to the first employer’s payroll department and would likely go unnoticed in larger organisations. Since self-assessment and voluntary reporting are the cornerstones of the US tax system, it is less complicated.

There is still no comprehensive law against moonlighting in India that can be used in all professions. Therefore, whether moonlighting is lawful or criminal varies much on the employers and the terms of their employment. In India, having many jobs is legal and not against the law. However, a person with a similar combination of jobs could raise questions about a breach of confidentiality as many employers include such limitations in their employment agreements in addition to prohibitions against holding down multiple jobs. If an employee’s contract stipulates non-compete restrictions and exclusive employment, as most traditional employment contracts do, moonlighting could be viewed as unfair competition. In contrast, it is not cheating if the employment contracts do not contain this clause or offer exceptions.

Dual employment is not permitted under the Factories Act. IT corporations are, however, excluded from that rule in several states. Employees should carefully review their employment contract with their primary employer to ensure compliance with any moonlighting policies before seeking for side work or launching a business. In view of the ongoing discussion over moonlighting, the government should develop a policy on moonlighting as part of the new labour[i] legislation. It might merely provide a legal framework for things that have been occurring clandestinely for years in so many different domains.


Kriti Seth, Head Knowledge Management Associate

Maheshari and Co.

[email protected]