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Infosys reverses opposition to staff taking side gigs
Moonlighting is now now OK – if you do it the Infosys way, says CEO Salil Parekh
The CEO of Indian tech services giant Infosys, Salil Parekh, has said employees will be allowed to take on external gigs if they secure company approval – a reversal of the position espoused a month ago when the company warned workers that "dual employment" could result in disciplinary action.
Speaking during the company's Q2 2022 results announcement, Parekh read [VIDEO] a carefully crafted written statement:
Now for gig opportunities in the external environment, we support the aspirations of our employees to learn beyond their work.
We will support them to work on certain gig projects after the prior approval of the managers.
We are also developing more comprehensive policies while ensuring contractual and confidentiality commitments are fully respected.
However, to be clear, we do not support dual employment.
The CEO added that in the past year, the company has terminated the employment of staff who take on multiple jobs when there are "confidentiality issues."
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Parekh also gave details of a several-year-old internal gig-finding platform called Accelerate – an option the company would prefer its employees to turn to with their free time for "learning opportunities."
"Employees can look at what we call internal gig work – different projects outside of their main work," said Parekh. "On an average quarter, over 4,000 people apply for this and about 600 are selected."
The CEO did not specify if these "internal gigs" are financially compensated beyond regular pay packets.
However, according to someone who has worked at Infosys, the platform has been encouraged since early 2016, alongside training, for those currently "on the bench" – being paid while waiting for their next project. After completing an Accelerate task, employees are rewarded with feedback ratings that can come in handy at evaluation periods.
The stern email discouraging moonlighting sent in mid-September and seen by The Register was titled "No Double Lives." It warned Infosys staff that "dual employment is not permitted" and can result in disciplinary action, including possible termination of employment.
Moonlighting has been a heated topic within India's IT services industry since Tata Consultancy Services' chief operating officer, N Ganapathy Subramaniam, labeled it an ethical issue that damages the culture, resulting in short-term gain for long-term pain.
And Wipro revealed last month that it fired 300 employees for taking on extra work. Wipro's executive chairman, Rishad Premji, called moonlighting "cheating – plain and simple" in a tweet that resulted in Premji receiving a large amount of hate mail.
IT labor rights org Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) and others have been quick to point out that when it comes to side gigs, it's one rule for the elite – Premji sits on at least four boards, according to his LinkedIn bio – and another for regular worker bees. ®