Moonlighting Debate: It seems the debate over moonlighting is not going to end anytime soon. Spearheaded by IT giants like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Wipro, HCL Tech—India’s USD 150-billion-plus software exports industry is at present raising concerns over the issue ‘moonlighting‘—a practice where an employee works for a second job outside his/her regular business hours. Almost all the IT companies have warned their staff against the practice. The term first came to light after Wipro revealed it fired 300 employees as they were moonlighting. But the question is – how did the company catch these employees taking up a second job?Also Read – What Infosys CEO Salil Parekh Had To Say About Continuing Work From Home, Moonlighting. Read Here
While some of the reports claimed that Wipro tracked ‘cheater’ employees who were working for its competitors using their Universal Account Number (UAN) from the employers’ portal of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), a tweet by user Rajiv Mehta elaborated the possible ways which might have helped the IT major about these employees moonlighting. Taking to Twitter, Mehta shared a Twitter thread explaining how 300 Wipro employees were sacked as they took advantage of work from home and worked parallelly with another company. The tweet has gone viral with more than 2,500 retweets and 11,000 likes.
300 #Wipro employees sacked as they took advantage of work from home and worked parallely with another company.
— Rajiv Mehta (@rajivmehta19) October 10, 2022
HOW DID ‘INNOCENT LOOKING’ PF OFFICE HELP WIPRO?
- Impossible to create 2 different PF accounts: Mehta, who usually shares about stock market tips underlined on the fact that it is nearly impossible to create two different PF accounts.
- PF contribution violation: Govt mandated that PF contribution has to be deposited regularly and it’s violation was a serious offence. “As all Aadhaar, PAN numbers are taken by banks to open salary account, same are used to deposit PF, same are required by companies to do back ground check,” he explained in the series of tweets.
- PF systems are integrated to check fraud: “Systems are so beautifully integrated at the back end that it was next to impossible for these moonlighters to create two identities both financially and demographically. So the PF runs a daily De-Duplication algorithm to check if someone has paid double accidentally.”
HOW EMPLOYEES TOOK ADVANTAGE OF WFH
In the same viral tweet, Mehta explained how remote employees betrayed their employers and took advantage of flexibility provided to them during pandemic.
- “IT professionals in their Work From Home avtaar joined other companies who were also in Work From Home mode”, tweeted Mehta.
- Same competency, double delivery.
- Two different laptops, same WiFi , catering to two different clients – all from the comfort of own home, in own hometown.
- In both networks/ jobs performing exceedingly well – just to avoid suspicion.
POWER OF DIGITAL INDIA REVEALS ‘Bhanumati ka Kunaba‘
Everything was going smoothly and it was impossible to catch the employees who were moonlighting, then how were they caught? “Well, it the most innocent looking, unassuming, always in the background – Provident Fund Contribution”, claimed the stock market investor.
- The PF runs a daily De-Duplication algorithm to check if someone has paid double accidentally.
- They found out that there are accounts of individuals, where contributors are multiple.
- This was reported to companies, and the entire Bhanumati ka kunaba came down crashing.
“Systems are so beautifully integrated at the back end that it was next to impossible for these moonlighters to create two identities both financially and demographically. This is the power of Digital India working at grass roots level to weed out corruption”, Mehta added.
LIST OF IT COMPANIES THAT DISAPPROVE MOONLIGHITNG
Working from home or other remote locations gave people leverage to take up another job after general working hours, the idea of moonlighting was disapproved by almost every IT company. See how, IT giants reacted on taking up second job while being employed by them.
- TCS: Milind Lakkad, Chief HR Office at TCS, said, “Moonlighting we believe is an ethical issue and it’s against our TCS core values and culture in general.” Besides, TCS’ Chief Executive Rajesh Gopinathan said, “It is codified in our employment contract that you are not allowed to work for another employer.”
- HCL Tech: “Dual employment while working for HCL Tech…we do not approve of that. Everybody who signs up to work for HCL Tech is signing up employment contract which requires exclusivity. The requirements around confidentiality, and non compete… all those provisions that are there we expect our employees to honour those commitments,” Ramachandran Sundararajan said.
- Infosys: Infosys said the company has to let go some of its employees over dual employment. Just like the other Indian IT firms, Infosys was of the view that the company does not support dual employment though it does support ‘gig work’. The company had to let go of ‘a few employees due to confidentiality issues.
- Tech Mahindra: Contrary to above mentioned IT giants, CP Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra shared that he might think about it for his employees. Speaking to Business Today at a Summit Gurnani favoured the concept of dual employment, saying he might make moonlighting a policy in his company if he is given a chance, but the workers should be transparent about it.
WHICH COMPANY ALLOWS MOONLIGHTING?
On-demand delivery platform Swiggy had introduced “Moonlighting” policy for its employees that will let them take up external projects to make more money.
“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’ organisation,” Girish Menon, Head of Human Resources at Swiggy, said in a statement.