Amid heated debate over moonlighting, India’s second-largest IT firm Infosys has allowed its employees to take up job opportunities outside the company with the prior consent of their managers and HR on Thursday. In an email, the software services exporter said: “Any employee, who wishes to take up gig work, may do so, with the prior consent of their manager and BP-HR, and in their personal time, for establishments that do not compete with Infosys or Infosys’ clients.”
With this move, Infosys has become the first major IT company to allow its employees to take up gig work. The decision comes amid ongoing debates around moonlighting – a term to describe employees who take up a second job while being on the payroll of another firm – and employee rights in not just the IT industry but also in other professional work domains.
Infosys CEO Salil Parekh recently said that the company did not support dual employment or working on gigs that could be in conflict with their work at the firm. He said that the company already had a platform that allowed employees to do internal gig work on internal projects.
Infosys’ latest email to its employees nowhere mentioned ‘moonlighting’. It laid down guidelines assisting employees in taking up side projects that do not stand in direct conflict with their employment contract. The email said that Infosys counts on its employees to ensure that this does not impact their ability to work with the company effectively.
“In addition, as per Infosys employment contract, employees may not work in areas when there is a potential conflict of interest or by accepting dual employment,” it said as per the report. The email further said Infosys, being an organisation that values learnability, totally supports its employees to take up additional projects.
The whole moonlighting debate was started by Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, who in a tweet on August 20 said: “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.” After him, many tech honchos voiced their opposition to moonlighting.
RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka said moonlighting cannot be tolerated because of data, which is sacrosanct. “Moonlighting: Wipro vs Swiggy – they just can’t be compared. Wipro deals with Fortune 500 clients for whom data secrecy is sacrosanct. If the customer finds even a remote chance of data compromise, it will not be tolerated,” he said.
However, just days ago, former HCL CEO Vineet Nayar said moonlighting is unstoppable. He also questioned the top management of companies saying if their involvement in other companies as board members or as investors in startups amounts to moonlighting.
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