Infosys allows employees to take up outside gig work
Bengaluru, Oct 21, 2022
A month after its stern `No two-timing, no moonlighting' message to employees, Infosys has adopted a more accommodative stance towards moonlighting, or gig work.
The company has sent an internal communication to employees allowing them to take up gig work outside their day jobs, but with consent from their managers, and on condition that it would not impact their work at Infosys, nor conflict with anything Infosys does.
The message reads: "Any employee, who wishes to take up gig work, may do so with the prior consent of their manager and BP (business partner)-HR in their personal time, for establishments that do not compete with Infosys or Infosys’s clients. 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 where there is an actual or potential conflict of interest or by accepting dual employment.”
The `No two-timing' communication in September had also noted that employees can take up outside assignments subject to conditions, but the tone of the latest message is very different from the previous one, and suggests that the company wants to send out a more positive message to employees. The September message had focused on the likelihood of disciplinary action, including termination of employment, in the event an employee was found to be moonlighting.
Infosys did not respond to a request from TOI to comment on the latest note.
Most leading IT companies have so far come down heavily on moonlighting, with many calling the practice unethical. But the reference is to assignments that employees take up without the knowledge of the company. Wipro chairman Rishad Premji had described moonlighting as “cheating - plain and simple.” He had also said the company had fired some 300 employees for moonlighting. TCS too had described moonlighting as an issue of ethics.
Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani was an exception. Gurnani said he did not have a problem with moonlighting and did not think the problem was widespread.
It remains to be seen if Infosys issues detailed guidelines to managers on how gig work requests should be handled. It's not clear how managers will establish whether an assignment has a conflict of interest with work that Infosys does, especially if it involves software development, and given that Infosys is involved in practically every area of software.
The company recently set up a platform called Accelerate for employees to look at internal gig work and projects outside their main area of work. But these are internal projects that would not involve conflicts of interest.
In a recent earnings call, Infosys CEO Salil Parekh had said that the company was developing more comprehensive policies around gig work, while ensuring contractual confidentiality commitments are fully respected. He, however, also noted that Infosys does not support dual employment.
[The Times of India]