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Employees' second jobs putting employers at risk

Employers are worried they are being exposed to risks through employees’ second jobs, according to research.

Senior HR, finance and C-suite professionals have seen an increase in the number of employees working second or multiple jobs to deal with the cost of living crisis, according to the survey by insurance firm Partners&.

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Around one in six (17%) of these employers are aware, and a further one in five (19%) suspect, their workers have taken on second jobs.

A majority (85%) believed they face greater risk as an employer because of it.

The perceived risks named by Partners& included employees using their main employer’s facilities or equipment, or damaging its reputation.

The firm also suggested that employees could be more tired, distracted or burned out.

Speaking to HR magazine Steve Herbert, wellbeing and benefits director at Partners&, said: “An employee moonlighting for another employer will, by definition, be working a greater a number of hours in any given week, and is therefore likely to become tired or ill as a result.

“It follows that the employee may take increased sickness days, which is bad news for the primary employer’s productivity figures.”

While not all firms outright forbid second jobs in employee contracts – and there is no requirement to do so unless workers exceed 48 hours per week – it is relatively common to regulate the practice, according to Matt Jenkin, employment partner at law firm Moorcrofts.

He told HR magazine: “For senior employees, you will often see a complete restriction on other paid employment. With more junior employees, a typical restriction will see them only being able to take up employment elsewhere with the agreement of the employer."

Just 8% of the employers surveyed said they specifically prohibited second jobs in the contracts they gave employees.

Jenkin added: “It is important for employers to keep a track on the work that their employees may do elsewhere. The restriction on the 48 hour week relates to all employment so an employer will need to monitor other paid employment to make sure that this time limit is adhered to.”

Partners& surveyed 169 senior HR, finance, payroll, and C-suite professionals, representing nearly 189,000 employees, on 30 November 2022.