Second jobs – are your employees working on a side hustle?

Do they have second jobs

And are second jobs a bad thing?

Most employment contracts include clauses that restrict the employee from working elsewhere. Often employees will have to obtain written permission if they wish to take second jobs outside the company.

As an employer, you may also reserve the right to withhold or withdraw permission if the other job:

  • is with a competitor
  • if it represents a conflict of interest
  • if it adversely affects the employee’s performance
  • or compromises the health and safety of themselves or others

So this type of ‘no other work’ policy exists to protect your business and, to an extent, the employee and their colleagues. Nothing wrong with that!

However, what is intended as a very necessary and reasonable contract clause is often applied unreasonably and incorrectly, with some employers demanding exclusivity and a blanket ban on employees having second jobs. Sometimes, it seems, it’s just easier to say ‘no’ rather than consider the situation, the employee’s needs and the benefits it could bring to the company.

In an article for CIPD’s People Management, Lauren Brown says “The majority of workers with second jobs are doing so because sluggish pay growth has forced them to find ways to top up their monthly income, a survey has found, resulting in calls for organisations to make sure employees don’t feel they have to pick up a “side hustle”.

These days it’s not uncommon for people to have more than one job for a variety of reasons, for example:

  • financial
  • social
  • developmental
  • as part of their studies
  • as a volunteer or for charity, public service, and so on

So, notwithstanding the checks and balances in relation to the real needs of your company and the welfare of your staff, try to take a positive approach to your employees’ second jobs by giving your support wherever possible. In return, you’ll be rewarded with happier, motivated employees, and also benefit from the broader range of skills and experience that they bring back to the workplace.

Remember you still need to protect your business, just make sure that what you’re expecting from your employees is relevant and fair.

Think about it … you may find that you’re the ‘other’ employer and the second job is with you!

Contact us for advice on contract clauses and policies in relation to exclusivity, other work and employment restrictions.