Moonlighting refers to when an employee with a full-time job also takes up a second job or side job or multiple other works apart from the one’s full-time job. It can be any additional job like freelancing, part-time working, or any side hustle usually done with the intention to earn more money.


While there are multiple reasons for opting for moonlighting some of them are as follows-

  • The most common reason which accounts for the majority of moonlighting is supplementing the actual income. People usually opt for moonlighting as a means of earning additional income.
  • The other common reason includes insecurity in jobs. People had lost their occupations because of Covid and there was a great downsizing done by companies in order to save their costs. Hence people opt for moonlighting as a backup plan or security.
  • Apart from the above two reasons many people opt for moonlighting just to follow their passion or dream. People want to follow their desire without giving up on their main job. Flexibility in jobs has made it possible in today’s world.
  • Another reason for opting for moonlighting is to learn new skills and upgrade the existing ones. People usually look for new opportunities and ways to upskill.
  • Some people are forced to opt for moonlighting due to the rising inflation and rise in the cost of living so that they can support and maintain a good lifestyle.
  • While some people opt for it just to combat boredom or utilize the time in a good and creative way.


Many companies do not let their employees opt for moonlighting and even take strict actions against those who opt for it. Some of the main reasons why companies are against dual employment are as follows-

  • The most important reason why companies do not permit dual employment is that it will affect the quality of output by the employee as well as the employee’s productivity.
  • The other reason includes high fatigue and stress level which will again directly affect the quality of output and productivity of employees.
  • Moonlighting may also lead to distractions, worries, and confusion due to which the organization will have to suffer.
  • There are also concerns regarding the company’s resources as employees may use them for their side jobs which will affect the company’s expenses ad costs.
  • Last but not least, the Company worries about the breach of data and confidentiality of the company. The company will have to suffer if such a breach of data and confidentiality of the company happens while an employee is working with direct competitors.


There is no such prevalent law on moonlighting in India. It is not defined under any statute. So, a person may do a side job or moonlight without breaking the law. However, moonlighting may be viewed as cheating if an employee’s contract specifies a non-compete clause and single employment, which is included in most traditional employment contracts. “The honorable Supreme Court of India upheld this non-compete clause in Niranjan Shankar Golikari versus The Century Spinning & Mfg. Co. (1976). Even the Delhi High Court in Wipro Limited v. Beckman Coulter International SA (2006) held the non-solicitation clause which imposes a duty upon employees to not disclose and solicit clients is permitted. But If there is no such non-compete or single employment clause mentioned in an employment contract then it will not amount to cheating as held in Government of Tamil Nadu v. Tamil Nadu Race Course General Employees Union (1993).”[1]

Apart from this, certain other laws are directly or indirectly related to moonlighting or dual employment. Some of them are as follows-

According to section 60 of the Factories Act, 1948 dual employment is prohibited. It says that “Unless specified, no adult worker must be compelled or permitted to do work in any other factory on which he has already worked in any other industry.”

  • According to Industrial Employment Standing Order Act, 1946 dual employment is valid but employers can prohibit it by adding terms and conditions or a non-compete clause laid in section 27 of the Indian Contracts Act, of 1872.
  • According to section 65 of the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, of 1948 there are clear restrictions on dual employment during leave and holidays.
  • Similarly, according to section 9 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954 dual employment is prohibited.[2]

Author’s Name: Shahid Khalid Bhendwade (Government Law College, Mumbai)    

[1] Bajpai, G.S.. & Kapur, N. (2022, October 25). Legal positing on moonlighting in India – The Leaflet

[2] ClearIAS Moonlighting: Is it ethical or legal? – ClearIAS

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