The “Overemployment” Trend
It is well understood that the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives in various ways. Jobs that were once fully in-person have adapted to remote or hybrid settings, schooling has been modified to include virtual teaching when necessary, and generally the dynamics of life have changed. An outcome in the employment realm because of Covid-19 has been the recent uptick trend of “overemployment” – the term understood when employees, usually those who are remote, work jobs simultaneously, and in most cases without their employer’s awareness. Overemployment differs from the concept of moonlighting. The ladder concerns employees who work both a primary and secondary job but at different times of the day or week. Generally moonlighting is permissible but it is also dependent on state laws and on the policies that the employer has in place. On the other hand, overemployment has different effects on employers and consequences for employees.
Reasons for Seeking Multiple Streams of Employment
Engaging in dual employment is not a new phenomenon; however, now more than ever employees are seeking such additional jobs. Employees in some industries are experiencing layoffs and budget cuts. Inflation and the constant rise in the cost of living have been additional reasons employees have given for pursuing multiple jobs. Employees in such situations attempt to secure financial protection. If one job goes awry, at least the employee can have the other job for consistent income. Such reasons are crucial in fueling this overemployment trend.
Implications that Arise for Employers
Overemployment is more common with remote employees. Remote employees have the accessibility to take advantage of holding down two jobs due to their work environment. Without direct personal supervision, remote employees can participate in dual employment freely. Further, due to the “at-will” nature of employment in the US, it is not illegal for employees to juggle jobs simultaneously. Usually, it is the employer’s discretion to decide whether to allow employees to work multiple jobs. Nonetheless, with this trend, employers have growing concerns on how to remedy such trends.
The main concerns that arise for employers from dual employment of employees include violations of company policies (such as conflict of interest and non-competes), a decrease in employee availability, and lower productivity and performance. Juggling more than one job can entail balancing numerous tasks which is not an easy feat and can lead to errors or disorganization. With these implications in mind, there are methods employers can implement to reduce employee participation in overemployment.
Reducing Employee “Overemployment”
Although it is not possible to completely prevent dual employment of one’s employees, there are steps that can mitigate the chances of employees working multiple jobs. Such steps can include:
- assessing the salary and benefits for your employees to ensure fair compensation;
- revising employment agreements to include language restricting overemployment or dual employment;
- preparing detailed conflict of interest policies and knowing your state’s laws in moonlighting;
- monitoring employee performance to track tardiness or repeated errors in work; and,
- utilizing employment applications (which is always recommended) to carefully screen employee’s current positions and question them about their status once employed by you.
By taking such proactive steps, employers can reduce the chances of employees engaging in the overemployment trend and maintain their workforce.