Infosys has allowed its employees to take up external gig work, becoming the first large software services firm in India to do so.
The company’s move to acknowledge and enable gig work marks a step forward and may even become a trendsetter, and comes as a larger debate around moonlighting and employee rights continues to rage in the IT industry and in other white-collar work sectors.
“Any employee, who wishes to take up gig work, may do so, with the prior consent of their manager and BP-HR, and in their personal time, for establishments that do not compete with Infosys or Infosys’ clients,” according to an email sent to employees, a copy of which was accessed by Moneycontrol.
As it happens, the email nowhere mentions the term ‘moonlighting’, as the term technically implies dual employment, which continues to be prohibited. The email instead lays down guidelines that will help employees take up side projects that are not in direct conflict with their employment contract.
When contacted, Infosys did not comment on this story. This story will be updated if they issue a comment.
“We count on our employees to ensure that this does not impact their ability to work with Infosys effectively. In addition, as per Infosys employment contract, employees may not work in areas when there is a potential conflict of interest or by accepting dual employment,” the email further said.
Infosys as an organisation values learnability, and that they are supportive of employees taking up additional projects, it added.
It reiterated that care needs to be taken to ensure that the projects employees want to take up “comply with the company’s policy for gig working, and do not breach client contracts or otherwise impact the employee’s ability to be effective in their full-time job with Infosys.”
Much of these requirements can be addressed when employees have a discussion with their managers before taking up these projects, it said.
In addition, the company said it has also created opportunities for gig working internally — through its Accelerate platform that enables managers to list gig work jobs that employees can take up. On average, Chief Executive Officer Salil Parekh said about 4,000 people apply each quarter and 600 are selected.
In August, Swiggy brought in a moonlighting policy for its employees, either for free or for economic consideration after an internal approval process.
In July, Kotak Institutional Equities conducted a survey of 400 IT/ITeS employees where it found that 65 percent of those who responded had either participated in part-time work during a period in which most companies were engaged in work-from-home or were aware of a co-worker who had.
Last week, while announcing the results, Parekh said that the company was working on a policy to allow employees to take on gigs outside of the company. “We are also developing more comprehensive policies for that while ensuring contractual and confidentiality committed are fully respected,” Parekh had said at the time.
He also informed that the company has let go of employees in the past due to moonlighting. “If the employees are doing blatant work in two specific companies where there are confidentiality issues, we have let go,” he said.
Tata Consultancy Services had said that moonlighting was against its values and culture.
Wipro Chief Executive Officer Thierry Delaporte said it was a conflict of interest that was the primary issue. “We’re perfectly fine with someone having a little side job here and there. It’s different if you’re working for a company that is in our environment,” he said. Moneycontrol