Sustainable Agriculture Institute
Policy brief & purpose
SAI’s Moonlighting Policy (outside employment) applies to our employees who take up other jobs while also working with our company.
Although we generally discourage outside employment, we understand the need to supplement your income or the wish to take up interesting projects outside of your main job. We want to ensure that moonlighting does not interfere in any way with your job at our company. This policy outlines our rules and provisions.
This policy mainly applies to our full-time employees, including those who work flexible hours or compressed work weeks. Salaried, part-time employees who work more than 20 hours per week for our company are also included.
This policy applies to lawful activities. Being involved in illegal business (e.g. fraud, drug dealing) will result in immediate termination. We may also take legal action if you use our company’s equipment, resources or information to support any illegal activities.
Our company does not want to preclude its employees from moonlighting. But, we want our employees to be transparent about their side jobs so we can prevent conflicts with their main jobs more easily.
Our main rule is that our employees must treat their job in our company as their primary occupation. Any other job should come second.
With this rule in mind, our employees must not:
- Take up a job or project with our competitors. Doing so may violate our non-compete agreement and we may terminate you. Our confidentiality policy is always in effect.
- Take up a job or project if its working hours overlap with those of their main job. Doing so will cause attendance issues and your manager may take disciplinary action. We expect you to use your working hours (not including breaks) to work for our company only, unless otherwise authorized.
- Take up a job or project that’s so demanding it interferes with main job duties. For example, if you’re too tired to do your main job properly, you will face negative performance reviews (formal and informal) and we may take disciplinary action.
- Take up a job or project that could create a conflict of interest. For this reason, we advise against working for or with our company’s clients, vendors or contractors outside your main job’s purview. Starting a business that competes with our own is a conflict of interest if you continue working for us while running your business.
What to do if you want to take up side jobs
What is a side job?
We define a side job as paid, regular work (temporary or permanent) with specific job responsibilities. For example, working at a coffee shop qualifies as a side job if you are expected to work there regularly, regardless of whether you have pre-determined shifts or a fixed number of hours. Managing a business, working as a consultant or advisor to companies and serving as a board member of an organization fall under our definition too.
When you want to (or have taken) a side job, please inform your manager to help us ensure you don’t inadvertently violate this policy. Also, having an honest discussion with your manager may help them understand why you need a second job and determine whether our company can help you instead (e.g. giving you more working hours or new interesting projects.)
You don’t need to tell your manager that you are:
- Working at a friend’s or family business occasionally at random days and hours. But, you still have to make sure that the hours you put in that job don’t overlap with your main job and that you follow our confidentiality policy.
- Freelancing. This doesn’t qualify as a side job because as a freelancer you are able to choose how many hours to work and when. But, we ask you to organize your time properly so your projects and activities don’t interfere with your main job. Our non-compete agreement stands.
- Do volunteer work. If you want to volunteer, ensure that you won’t need to work during your normal working hours. Also, if your volunteer work becomes too demanding, we advise you to organize it better or reduce the time you spend volunteering.
When team members inform their managers about their outside jobs, managers should document this information. They should also check to see if any rules are violated. For example, their team member may unknowingly take up a job with a competitor. If this happens, let your team member know so you can prevent a conflict of interest.
Also, keep in mind that your team members may have options other than taking up outside employment if they are facing financial problems or seeking variety in their work. It is your responsibility as a manager to find ways to help them if possible.
If your team member informs you that they are thinking of taking up a side job because of financial problems, consider:
- If your team member is an hourly employee, you may be able to give them more hours working with our company to supplement their income, instead of them seeking additional employment.
- Our company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may include financial counseling for those who need help planning their budget and expenses. Provide general information about our EAP to your team member and let them choose whether they want to take part in it.
If your team member is thinking about outside employment because they want to advance their skills or career, you may be able to help them achieve this in our company. Discuss chances for new projects, job rotation or training opportunities.
Using company equipment and resources
Generally, employees must not use company equipment, resources or materials for their outside activities. Using or disclosing our confidential or proprietary information outside the scope of your job with us is prohibited.
However, we may make exceptions for equipment we give to employees for unlimited use, namely their work laptop and company car. In these cases, you can use your equipment outside working hours but you must follow our cyber security and company car policies.
Keep in mind that we will not reimburse any expenses (e.g. gas) that you incur outside of your working hours with our company.
What if employees violate this policy?
Our employees may face disciplinary action depending on how they violated this policy. Breaching our non-compete and confidentiality agreements results in immediate termination. We may also take legal action if you disclose sensitive and confidential information about our employees, clients or business.
If you violate this policy by showing attendance or performance issues due to your outside employment, we may:
- Ask you to quit your side job.
- Issue a reprimand and launch a progressive discipline process.
- Terminate you if we conclude that you are unwilling to conform with our policy after we have taken disciplinary action.