Is Dual Employment Permissible Under the Labour Laws in India?

India is known for its huge population, underemployment or unemployment and also the low rate of wages comparing to the developed nations in spite of India having a huge young and potential workforce. Many people are employed here with very low wages which not only violates the Minimum Wages Act, but makes it almost impossible for the person to meet his daily expenses. Hence, many people have or want to opt for multiple jobs or dual employment.

What does the Indian labour law say about it? Though there are plenty of labour enactments in India, everyone is silent about this issue of “dual employment” except the Factories Act, 1948. Section 60 of the said Act, says:

“60. Restriction on double employment.—No adult worker shall be required or allowed to work in any factory on any day on which he has already been working in any other factory, save in such circumstances as may be prescribed. “

The above mentioned section 60 of the Factories Act, 1948 clearly states that a worker cannot work in more than one factory on the same day. But not all organizations are covered under the Factories Act, 1948.

But most of the organizations, which are not covered under the Factories Act, 1948, while issuing the appointment letter make it clear in the appointment letter itself that the employee would not engage himself in any alternate profession, business etc. during his course of employment.

Though there are no specific provisions under the Indian labour laws barring dual employment except for Section 60 of the Factories Act, 1948, several High Courts have held that termination on the ground of dual employment is valid since dual employment reduces the efficiency of an employee and if an employee is engaged in dual employment, then he is unable to give 100% effort towards his employer. It is generally held by the Courts, that the 24 hours in a man’s life is divided into three parts of 8 hours each; 8 hours for work, 8 hours for personal activities and 8 hours for sleep. If a person is working for more than 8 hours, then he is generally upsetting the daily cycle of a human being, which would decrease his efficiency towards his employer. Apart from that he is also snatching the opportunity of another person’s employment.

Recently (2016), the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court has held that the termination of a driver who was working since 2001 to be valid, when it was found that the said driver was engaged in dual employment and salary slip and other documents to that effect were also produced before the Hon’ble Court. In another case, the Madras High Court in 2012 held that the termination to be valid when a Grade III operator was found to be engaged as a director of another company. In both the cases, the labour law advocates engaged on behalf of the employees argued but failed to establish their points.

However, each and every case while deciding the aspect of dual employment has to be deal individually and on factual aspects.

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