Many employees are turning to side hustles in an uncertain economic environment to make ends meet. However, some of these side hustle could hamper and threaten an employee’s primary source of income, experts say.
More than 40% of adults across the United States reported having a side job in 2022 in order to get extra income to pay for daily living expenses, up from 31% in the pre-pandemic period, according to a recent report. Bankrate.
In some cases, it could also be a chance for employees to pursue a passion of their own. Still, many problems can arise if you take another gig.
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For one thing, working in parallel can be time-consuming, and employees may run the risk of letting it spill over into their regular workday, according to Luke Doyle, Outreach Team Leader at NeoMam Studios. They may also run the risk of taking necessary time off, which can increase the risk of burnout.
“You could find yourself eating up work time and also wasting a much-needed vacation, which means you have zero downtime,” Doyle said. “It could cause you to lose both your side business and your full-time job.”
Ultimately, you could “jeopardize your full-time job…and that kind of defeats the purpose of having that hustling side,” he added.
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If employees take the plunge and take on side work, it’s important to make sure it’s not done during work hours or using company equipment like a work laptop, cell phone or software, he added.
One of the biggest issues, however, is that it can violate a company’s policy, which could lead to serious and even legal ramifications.
Misty Marris, co-managing partner at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP, said it’s essential to know a company’s policies before accepting a second contract because “many employees think that if they don’t of employment contract, they have no limitations.”
That’s a huge misconception, Marris told FOX Business.
Even at-will employees, who are employees who don’t have a specific contract relating to their employment, “are subject to all of their company manuals and policies,” Marris added.
These employees will still typically sign many documents, and knowing what they mean is key, she added. For example, there could be a non-compete clause or non-disclosure agreement preventing certain work.
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There could also be numerous conflicts of interest. Employees could risk endorsing a product that contradicts their company, or they could work with a company that has a relationship with their employer, which can cause problems down the line.
Additionally, many side businesses involve social media. If so, employees should consult their company’s social media policies to understand any social media limitations they may have, even when they are unreachable.
However, it can be difficult to navigate these policies or understand what a conflict of interest is. When in doubt, it’s best to get approval, Marris added.
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Most companies will have an approval process, especially if they are privately owned, Marris said. This is especially true today, given the flexible working environment and the booming gig economy.
However, laws vary from state to state “so it’s important to know the rules of the game,” she said. This includes contract law, “black work policies”, employment law, and laws on the use of social media on an ongoing basis. Moonlighting refers to a second job in addition to one’s regular job.
“Everybody wants to make more money, everybody wants to make extra money,” she said. “No one can blame you. Just make sure you put yourself in a position to succeed on both fronts.”
If you don’t, you could be at risk of being fired or being sued. In some cases, employees may even face potential criminal offenses when performing personal work on the clock, particularly when working in the public sector, Marris said.