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Businesses need policies in place on workers with side jobs

Millions of Americans are moonlighting; their primary employers are advised to set clear expectations to avoid any conflicts. 

Laurie Bloom, director of marketing and communications at

Laurie Bloom, director of marketing and communications at the Uniondale law firm Rivkin Radler, addresses her Hofstra public relations class Sept. 11 at her firm's offices.  Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

Moonlighting is on the rise.

Last year 4.2 million Americans with full-time jobs worked part time on a second job, up from 3.6 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

 While the 4.2 million represent only 3 percent of the U.S. workforce, private surveys put the percentage of workers holding multiple jobs much higher. Those surveys include the growing number of people working in the gig economy, performing jobs from pet-sitting to driving for Uber.

More than one-third of employees have one or more side jobs, and nearly one in five are seeking one, according to a recent survey from Clutch, a Washington, D.C.-based research and ratings firm. One-quarter of the workers with side jobs said their employer doesn’t know they're working a side gig, the survey found. 

Employees' reasons for taking on extra jobs vary from wanting to earn extra income to pursuing a passion. Regardless of the reason, to set clear expectations and avoid any conflicts employers would be best served to have policies on employees' holding additional jobs.

“It’s becoming increasingly common," says Michelle Delgado, a marketer and researcher at Clutch. “The best way to deal with it is to be very proactive.”

Rather than discouraging it, the employer might actually find it could benefit from the skills and relationships that employees develop through their side jobs, says Delgado.

That’s been the experience at Rivkin Radler LLP in Uniondale.

Laurie Bloom, director of marketing and communications at the law firm, also has taught as an adjunct professor of public relations at Hofstra University in Hempstead for over a decade.

She teaches outside of her normal working hours and says it has led to building good relationships in the community, noting teaching is one of her “passions.” In particular, she teaches a class that each semester picks two nonprofits to assist, pro bono, with their goals. This year’s nonprofits are Pet Peeves Inc. and Help-Uganda.

“It exposes students to the challenges that charities face,” says Bloom.

That class has met at  Rivkin Radler with the nonprofits,  which gives the students real-world experience and a sense of compassion and caring, she says.

Evan Krinick, Rivkin’s managing partner, says the firm’s very involved in the not-for-profit community, for example serving on boards, and this student-nonprofit engagement further enhances those efforts and involvement.

In addition, he says, “We encourage all of our employees to follow their passions. To the extent we’re able to provide the mechanism to help them [with] that, we’re very supportive.”

Employers should be open-minded, says Delgado.

“A small business that’s going to be totally against [outside jobs] may be swimming against the current,” she says. 

But still employers may want to set some guidelines, says Janine Truitt, chief innovations officer at Talent Think Innovations, a consultancy  in Port Jefferson Station.

You may even want to discuss  parameters for outside jobs  with a new employee  in the orientation process, she says,  and the issue can be addressed for existing employees through a policy refresher.

It’s hard for an employer to restrict an employee’s ability to earn extra income, she notes. “Employers need to tread carefully.”

Jeffery Meyer, a law partner at Nixon Peabody LLP in Jericho, agrees, noting a blanket prohibition  against side jobs isn’t recommended.

Instead, employers should consider having a “moonlighting policy” and, at a minimum, a conflict-of-interest policy and confidentiality policy, he says.

As part of any moonlighting/side job policy, employers should have specific defined performance standards and job expectations, says Meyer. Employers may even specify they don’t want the employee working for a competitor and note that his or her current position is the primary focus.

The confidentiality policy would make it clear that any proprietary information, customer information and the like are considered confidential and belong solely to the primary employer, says Meyer.

As for employees, they're advised to inform employers about side work.

Carrie Krempler-Saar, managing director of Southampton Plastic Surgery, says her company is aware and supportive of her side job as a health and fitness coach with Beachbody.

“My 40 hours a week belongs to them, and anything I decide to do over and above that they totally support me,” she says.

Time management is key in doing both, she says, and getting your partner/spouse on board ahead of time.

“Make sure you’re on the same page with them,” says Krempler-Saar. “When you’re a full-time working mom and wife and you’ve got this side hustle, you need help to make it work.”

Top reasons employees take side jobs

Earn extra money (69%)

Develop new skills (9%)

Pursue a passion (8%)

Network with peers (5%)

Master new technology (5%)

Source: Clutch

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