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After Wipro's Rishad Premji, now Infosys' Salil Parekh confirms firing employees for moonlighting

After Wipro's Rishad Premji, now Infosys' Salil Parekh confirms firing employees for moonlighting

IT major looking at policies to allow employees to take up external gig work, but clarified that it doesn’t support dual employment.

"If we have found in the past employees who are doing blatant work in two specific companies where confidentiality issues, we have let go off them in the last 12 months,” said Infosys CEO & MD Salil Parekh "If we have found in the past employees who are doing blatant work in two specific companies where confidentiality issues, we have let go off them in the last 12 months,” said Infosys CEO & MD Salil Parekh

IT major Infosys has also fired ‘moonlighters’ in the last 12 months because of confidentiality issues when found working for two companies, the firm revealed on Thursday, echoing its rival Wipro’s stance that it has fired 300 employees found working simultaneously for competitors as well. 

“I don’t have information on the processes [to identify moonlighters]. If we have found in the past employees who are doing blatant work in two specific companies where confidentiality issues, we have let go off them in the last 12 months,” said Infosys CEO & MD Salil Parekh in the post-Q2 result press briefing. However, he didn’t have specific numbers to share.  

Parekh also said that the firm is looking at developing comprehensive policies to support employees to take up external gig opportunities. “For gig opportunities in the external environment, we support the aspirations of our employees to learn beyond work. We will support them to work on certain gig projects after prior approval of the managers. We are also developing more comprehensive policies for that while also ensuring contractual and confidentiality commitments are fully respected. However, to be clear, we do not support dual employment.” 

He also pointed out that the Bengaluru-based firm’s internal platform called ‘Accelerate’ has anyway been enabling employees to take up internal projects and gig for several years now.  “We’ve always encouraged our employees to have that mindset within the company,” he said, adding that about 4,000 employees apply for it in an average quarter, while 600 get selected.  

On Wednesday, competitor Wipro’s CEO & MD Thierry Delaporte clarified that the company is perfectly fine with employees having a side job here and there, but the IT major cannot accept employees holding jobs in an obvious conflict of interest, clarifying its stance on the raging moonlighting debate kickstarted by the company Chairman Rishad Premji in a tweet about two months ago. 

“There are contracts which have to be respected. In particular, when people are going for another job that has conflict of interest with Wipro, how can we accept that?  So, yes we don’t accept that,” Delaporte had said in a press briefing after the Q2 results announcement. “We are perfectly fine with someone having a side job here and there. It’s different. If you’re working for a company in our environment for example, it’s not a question of legality, it’s a question of ethics. We don’t believe it’s right having two jobs with a conflict of interest.” 

Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji’s tweet on August 20 about moonlighting being “cheating – plain and simple” snowballed into a fierce debate in India’s $150-plus-billion software exports industry. Should it allow its 4.5-million-strong white-collar workforce to take up income-generating side gigs or not?    

Top industry voices have mostly been critical of it. Premji has since said that Wipro fired 300 employees found moonlighting for competitors. Wading into the debate, Tata Consultancy Services' COO N. Ganapathy Subramaniam had said that the company sees a long-term loss to the industry, and IBM India Managing Director Sandip Patel finds dual employment “not ethically right”. Infosys has warned that employees caught moonlighting will be terminated as it is unethical to take up a second job ‘during or after work hours’, while RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka had backed Wipro in a tweet: “If the customer finds even a remote chance of data compromise, it will not be tolerated.” 

But moonlighting has also found a few proponents. Tech Mahindra MD & CEO C.P. Gurnani is supportive of the idea and has even said he would introduce policies to enable employees to be more open about it. Former Infosys director Mohandas Pai has said it doesn’t amount to cheating. And Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics & Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said “efforts of companies to pin their employees down are doomed to fail”.  

Also read: Infosys, Wipro, now Mindtree. IT professionals blame company for delaying onboarding

Also read: Infosys Q2 results: Profit rises 11% to Rs 6,021 cr; board okays Rs 9,300 cr share buyback

Published on: Oct 13, 2022, 5:46 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Oct 13, 2022, 3:58 PM IST