Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Coronavirus Update 8-17-2021: Are your work-from-home employees working more one job from home?

This headline in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye: These People Who Work From Home Have a Secret: They Have Two Jobs.

A small, dedicated group of white-collar workers, in industries from tech to banking to insurance, say they have found a way to double their pay: Work two full-time remote jobs, don’t tell anyone and, for the most part, don’t do too much work, either.

Alone in their home offices, they toggle between two laptops. 
According to one software engineer interviewed for the article, both the money and the stress from working two jobs are incredible. "I'll wake up in the morning and I'm like, 'Oh, this is the day I'm gonna get found out.'" Another recounts how he keeps both going, either by feigning network issues when one job needs to take priority over the other, or by evading meetings to resolve issues by email or Slack.

While there is nothing inherently illegal about an employee working two jobs, an employer also doesn't have to allow it. Assuming you want to permit employees to work a second job, it's best to have a policy in place to address how it affects your business. Such a policy should, at a minimum, address the following issues:
  1. Interference with primary job. The main purpose of most moonlighting policies is to set out your expectation that employees will treat their work at your business as their primary job and will not allow other jobs to interfere with the performance of the primary job. You should make it clear that you expect the employee to put your job first.

  2. Conflict of interest. Above all else, you need to protect your business. A conflict of interest policy can help ensure that your employees don’t work for a competitor while working for you. You should also consider the potential impact – positive and negative – of an employee working for a customer or vendor. The same should also cover confidential and other proprietary information.

  3. Leaves of absence. Employees should not be able to work a second job while on a leave of absence — medical, for example — from their primary job.

  4. Approval of other employment. Consider including a clause that requires approval of any outside employment. In implementing such a clause, however, be sure to do it fairly and equitably across the board, and avoid any appearance of preferential or discriminatory treatment.
This is not a reason not to have employees continue working from home. It is, however, a reason to have a policy to establish and provide cover should you need to cut bat and fire an employee because their outside work interferes with your business or is a conflict of interest.

* Image via http://www.tv-intros.com/m/moonlighting.jpg, Fair use, Link