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International Journal Of Scientific Research And Education

||Volume||2||Issue||12||Pages-2551-2556||December-2014|| ISSN (e): 2321-7545

Website: http://ijsae.in

Managing Employee Moonlighting: Issues And Implications

Shweta Sangwan
Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
E-mail: shwetasangwan1004@gmail.com

Due to the various economic changes and unstable employment conditions, employees take up more than
one job to supplement their income and to get job stability. Employees often take up two jobs or a business
along with the present job for a variety of reasons. This is called moonlighting. It has its benefits as well as
limitations. Various ethical issues are involved with employees who moonlight. It poses challenges for
employers as well as employees. This paper tries to assess the need for moonlighting by employees and its
implications for managers.
Keywords: Moonlighting, Ethical Dilemma, Secondary Jobholding

Human Resource Management (HRM) is undergoing a change and coming up with new techniques for
effectively managing the employees. The most important benefit that an employee receives from a job is the
monetary benefit or compensation. Though most of the people manage with a single job, the concept of dual
jobbing is becoming increasingly common. This concept of double jobbing is called moonlighting. It
provides the employees with the much needed monetary support and also provides an outlet for creativity
and a scope to do much more. However, it does suffer from certain limitations from the point of view of
both employees as well as employers.
Moonlighting can be viewed as a persistent as well as a transitory phenomenon. In persistent moonlighting,
the second job rarely becomes the primary occupation whereas in case of transitory moonlighting the
employee has an intention to shift careers. Once the employee decides to switch the job, he/she stops
moonlighting. (A. Gauriglia, B.Y. Kim, 2001).

Shweta Sangwan IJSRE Volume 2 Issue 12 December 2014 Page 2552

To understand the nature of moonlighting by employees and its need.
To analyse the various issues involved in moonlighting.
To assess the implications of moonlighting for employers and provide suggestions,

This paper studies the various aspects related to employee moonlighting. It uses secondary data from
journals, articles and internet resources.
Why Do Employees Go For Moonlighting?
Employees have various reasons for opting for a second job. Though monetary consideration seems to be the
obvious reason behind it yet there are other factors that prompt an employee to take up a second job. The
major reasons behind moonlighting are discussed below:
Monetary Reasons: Money is the major benefit that an employee receives in exchange for the efforts put into
the job by him/her. Money helps in satisfying the basic physiological needs and safety and security needs,
the first two levels of Maslow’s need hierarchy. The second job helps in bringing additional income for the
employee. In a country like India, where pay levels are not so high, employees resort to taking up more than
one job to satisfy their basic needs which can be fulfilled by money.
Work Experience: Many employees want to gain more experience in their field. This is especially true for
new entrants who want maximum exposure in a limited amount of time. Doing two jobs at the same time
gives them an opportunity to get maximum experience in a short span of time.
Acquisition of Skills: Employees learn new skills which enhances their personal growth. The increased skill
set further improves their employability.
Explore Career Options: Often employees are not content with their present career choices. They may want
to explore other career options while not leaving their current job. By taking up a second job simultaneously,
they can discover new opportunities in different streams.
Job Security: Job stability is a major concern for employees. In case one job does not provide stability, the
employees may take up another job to meet their basic needs whenever the first job becomes unavailable.
Setting up Own Business: Many employees want to set up their own business. Since the initial stage of any
business requires investment and the returns come later, they stay on the job and treat the job as a shock
absorber. The job also teaches them the skills which will be needed to set up a successful business. So the
employees hone their skills on the job and use it as a shock absorber in case their business venture proves to
be unsuccessful.

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Blue Moonlighting: When an employee is unsatisfied with his/her pay in the current job, he/she starts
looking for a part time job. However when the employee is not able to find any part time job, his/her efforts
go in vain. This is called blue moonlighting.
Quarter Moonlighting: When an employee takes up a part time job along with his present job and spends
some of his/her time on the second job, it is termed as quarter moonlighting. The employee usually does this
to supplement his/her current salary and satisfy the basic needs.
Half Moonlighting: In this scenario, the employee devotes half of the time to the second job or to the newly
set up business. The second job or the business enables the employee to lead a comfortable life.
Full Moonlighting: In full moonlighting, the employee devotes whole of the time to the second job or new
business. The employee stays on the first job only as a shock absorber.

Job Mobility: Moonlighting helps an employee to move from one job to another, thereby providing mobility.
It increases the chances of getting a new job or a new business while minimizing the chances of being
unemployed. (Georgios Panos et al)
Builds a Strong Network: Being exposed to more people expands the network base of employees. If the
employee works in an industry which acts as a supplier or distributor for the first employer, both the
organisations stand to gain from it.
Improved Skill Set: Since the employees are able to gain expertise and hone their skills, the employer also
enjoys the benefit of the increased skill set of employees. The employee is able to perform better due to the
improved knowledge and skills thereby benefitting the employer.
Low Employee Turnover: Since employees are economically satisfied, there are lower chances of employee
turnover, especially when employees engage in persistent moonlighting.

Over worked Employees and Poor Health: If the employees are engaged in two jobs, they tend to exhaust
themselves. Owing to the physical and mental demands of two jobs, they face stress and exhaustion. Such
employees are not able to give their best in any of the jobs. Due to excessive work, they may face several
health related problems.
Threat of Competition and Business Secrecy: When an employee works for another employer or starts
his/her own business which is similar to his first job, there is a fear of competition faced by the first
employer. In such a situation, there is a conflict of interest. The first employer may also be concerned about
the confidentiality of his business secrets.

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Inefficiency: Due to handling two jobs, the employee may not be able to focus on the present job thereby
reducing the efficiency of the organisation. It negatively affects the employee’s performance on the first job.
Ethical Dilemma: Moonlighting poses an ethical dilemma for the employees. A major problem arises when
an employee works for two employers who are from the same industry. If employees start using the
information from one employer for the other, it may lead to major problems. Also, if employees use the
resources, physical as well as intellectual, from the employer for their own business or the other job, it will
cause ethical problems. The employer may even consider it stealing.


Employers are getting increasingly concerned about moonlighting by employees. It poses several challenges
in front of the management. It is argued that employees have the right to utilise their free time as they
consider appropriate. Freelancing is common for many employees and with the option of working from
home, employees find taking up a part time job highly lucrative.
It is better if rather than banning moonlighting; employers find ways of handling it effectively. Employers
need a proactive approach for managing employee moonlighting. The main concern of employers is that
moonlighting should not hamper the performance of their organisation. For this purpose, managers should
have an explicit moonlighting policy. The moonlighting policy must specify the company rules regarding
moonlighting. Employers may take the following steps to effectively manage moonlighting:
An Agreement to not work for competitors or start a competitive business: Employers need to ensure that
the employees do not work with or engage in a business which is a direct competitor. It greatly reduces the
risk of losing business secrecy. A non-compete clause must be inserted in the employment contract.
Avoid Conflict of Interest: No employee must engage in a second job whose objectives conflict with that of
the employer.
Revision of Minimum Wages: Employers must ensure that employees receive the minimum compensation
which is essential for their basic needs. Wages and salaries may be augmented by certain incentives. If the
economic needs of employees are fulfilled in the present job, it will greatly reduce the need of taking up a
second job.
Keep the Two Jobs Separate: The second job must not interfere in the working of the first job. The employee
must not spend the time dedicated for the first job on the other job. Also, the resources of the first job must
not be used for fulfilling the obligations of the second job.
Permission for Taking Second Job: The employee must obtain the approval of the employer before engaging
in a second job or business. This will benefit both the employer as well as the employee. The employee will
be free of the fear of being discovered and the guilt of hiding something and the employer can ensure that
the second job does not conflict with or hampers the employee’s performance on the present jobs (S.
Banerjee, 2012).

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A large number of employees take up a second job to fulfill various needs. The focus of the employers must
not be on stopping the employees, rather they should focus on preventing any conflict of interest. If
employers want they may prohibit moonlighting but the employer-employee relationship extends beyond the
legal contracts. In order to maintain harmonious relationship between employer and employee, a well-
crafted moonlighting policy will go a long way.

1. Guariglia, A. and Kim, B.Y., (2001), “Dynamics of Moonlighting: What is Happening in the Russian
Informal Economy”, Discussion Paper 5, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition,
2. Panos, G., Pouliakas, K. and Zangelidis, A., (2011), “Multiple Job Holding as a Strategy for Skills
Diversification and Labour Market Mobility”, The CER Working Paper Series on Entrepreneurship
and Innovation, ISSN 2048-2426, University of Essex.
3. Banerjee, S., (2012), “Effect of Employee Moonlighting: A Challenging Task for Managers and
Organizations”, International Journal of Management Research and Business Strategy, Vol. 1, No. 1,
October 2012.
4. http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/moonlighting-how-to-handle-employees-working-additional-
5. http://thethrivingsmallbusiness.com/moonlighting/
6. http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/4-reasons-let-employees-moonlight/
7. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-ethics-of-moonlighting/
8. http://www.workforce.com/articles/do-employees-have-the-right-to-moonlight

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