June 10, 2023

IT services giant Wipro has fired 300 employees in recent months who moonlighted for competitors, a top executive said Wednesday, highlighting a practice that has gained momentum around the world as companies embrace work-from-home rules.

Rishad Premji, chairman of Wipro, which employs more than 250,000 employees in more than five dozen countries, told a conference on Wednesday that the company considers moonlighting for competitors an “integrity violation.”

“As part of transparency, individuals can have open and frank conversations around playing in a band or working on a project on the weekend. It’s an open conversation that allows organizations and individuals to make a concerted choice about whether or not they work for them,” he said.

But, “There is no place for anyone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they will feel exactly the same if they discover the same situation. That’s what I meant…so I stand by what I said…I think it’s a breach of integrity if you show the moon in that shape and form.”

A growing number of white-collar workers, spanning industries from tech to banking, have quietly taken on a second job — in some cases, a third — as they hedge against concerns about layoffs, or take advantage of less accountability when working from home.

Some startups are taking moonlighting as an advantage. Swiggy, India’s most valuable food delivery startup, last month told employees they could take second jobs pro-bono or for financial considerations after internal approval.

Bengaluru-headquartered fintech startup Slice last year offered new hires a three-day week with salaries at 80% of the market’s going rate. Employment contracts allow individuals to work second jobs, the startup said.

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