IT Minister backs moonlighting but should not be against employment contract

IT Minister backs moonlighting but should not be against employment contract

NEW DELHI (PTI): Minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar has backed moonlighting, and said companies should accept the employee-entrepreneur mindset of today’s tech force.

“Today’s youngsters have every sense of confidence and purpose about monetizing and creating more values to his or her own skills. So, companies that want to pin their employees down and say you should not work on your own startup are doomed to fail,” he said at the annual forum of the Public Affairs Forum of India.

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The days when employees used signed up with big tech majors and spent their lives on the job are long gone, he said. “Any captive models will fade. Employers expect employees to be entrepreneurial while serving them. The same people can apply it personally to themselves. Time will come where there will be a community of product builders who will divide their time on multiple projects. Just like lawyers or consultants do. This is the future.” However, he clarified that moonlighting should not be in violation of any contractual obligations.

“For companies to say that while you’re working for us, you should not think about a startup or should not think of consulting for your friends, is doomed to fail exercise.”

Chandrasekhar’s backing of employees working for more than one employer simultaneously, follows software major Wipro’s decision to fire 300 of its employees for moonlighting with rival firms. Infosys has also warned its staff against moonlighting or working on a second job during or outside regular work hours. It said that dual employment may lead to termination of employment.

Chandrasekhar clarified that he was not supportive of employees violating contracts, which may include non-compete or confidentiality clauses. “However, I do agree with one part of the moonlighting argument that if one is a contracted employee of a company, and your contract says, non- compete, confidentiality clauses, then if you violate that you’re obviously running afoul of the contract law,” he added.

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December 2023

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