March 22, 2023

India’s top IT services are scrutinising employees amid increasing reports over some of them taking up side hustles without prior approval from the firm.

The practice of moonlighting has existed in the for a long time now, however, the same has increased since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, a report by Livemint stated.

As the cost of living rises with rising inflation, many people have started taking up side hustles to cover their costs and protect themselves against possible layoffs.

However, now have started to clamp down on such activities, as the think moonlighting affects employees’ productivity, creates conflicts of interest, and even causes data breaches, reported Livemint.

Mphasis, controlled by the Blackstone Group, has said it is keeping a hawk-eye on employees to deter offenders, said Livemint. The firm, which employs over 36,000, has started to compare provident fund data of its staff to ascertain additional sources of income.

“We have started checking the provident fund. We are checking, and if we find something, we question the employees,” said Srikanth Karra, chief HR officer at Mphasis, quoted Livemint.

Mphasis has also identified high-risk profiles within its workforce and has held internal discussions to curb moonlighting.

Mumbai-based IDfy which provides identity verification services told Livemint that more and more are seeking help to detect moonlighting.

“In the last two months, 40-50% of our IT clients want to know how to check if employees are moonlighting. This includes checking data from employee’s provident fund office to see if there are credits from any other firm,” Anupam Mukerji, vice-president for marketing at IDfy told the business daily.

Rishad Premji, Wipro’s executive chairman, nearly a week ago called the side hustle trend ‘moonlighting’ cheating. In a tweet, he said, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating—plain and simple”.

CEO N Ganapathy Subramaniam too said that employees needed to be on the ethical side and moonlighting would not work out in the long run. Speaking at an industry event last Friday, he said, “Employers need to inculcate ethics and being right… If you make something like this for short-term gains, in the long-term, you will lose out—that kind of a message has to go to the employees.”

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