Is doing freelancing jobs along with full time employment illegal?


Hi, I am a full time permanent employee of a product based IT company in Pune, India. I have started doing freelancing jobs from last year through a online freelancing website. I would like to know if this is legal or not.

Answers (4)


321 votes

Dual employment of any kind is contractual right, nothing to do with legal right. As every employment is expected to be single employment hence you contract should speak of its exception or dual employment explicitly. Option 1 is take a written approval or consent to do so while you are in employment (which is generally or practically not considered by most employers); Option 2 is do 2 part time jobs and have the scope to fulfill your freelancing work. Any work done on honorary or voluntary can be considerable but it should not change your priority to your full time employment. Any work that links with your current work or could be considered within due course of employment has to be permitted by your employer. There are no legal provisions strictly to govern by practices and contractual rights determine the same


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118 votes

Hello Querist,

It depends on your Employment Contract, the nature if your work with your first i.e. full time Employer and your Employers internal Policies (as may be amended from time to time).

Some employers may allow their Employees to pursue outside business interests if a prior approval is taken from the Line Manager / HR etc. and subject to the nature of outside interest pursued along with all the requisite disclosures.

While engaging in any outside activity for profit during the course of Full Time Employment, there is always a room for suspicion whether 1) you are using your Employers Condifential Information or 2) the know how acquired through your existing Employment is used in your freelance assignments. These secnarios would lead to breach of confidentiality clause in your Employment Contract or the use of acquired know-how from your Full Time Employer would lead to conflict of interest.

If you work in a service oriented industry catering to various business clients there are chances your Employer might have entered into Confidemtiality / Service Agreements with certain Business Partners and your free lancing work might thus unknowingly jeopardise those contractual arrangements. It is also pertinent to note that you may unknowingly end up working for your Employers business competitors.

It is very important to factor the above scenarios and seek prior approval from your Full Time Employer before engaging in any outside business opportunity, however benign and lucrative it may appear to you.

As far as the legality of such freelance assignment is concerned, you are governed by the Shop and Establishment Act and or the Factory Act depending on your nature of work and industry you are employed with, and it clearly prohibits Dual Employment, though there are certain exceptions (viz. Family business, Academic Assignments, etc.) and yours may or may not be covered depending on the facts and circumstances which your Line Manager / HR or ER Department may be the best judge to decide.

I would advise you to check your employment contract and Company Policy and consult with your HR immediately to avoid any possible contractual breach arising out of such freelancing work.

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89 votes

Sir doing hard work is no way illegal. The constitution of india provide right to work or any choice. What is the Terms of your appointment? Whether your company policy say you can't work any where then it is illegal.

116 votes

It would be necessary for the provisions of the Offer Letter, Company Policy Handbook, Employment Agreement et al entered into between the IT Company and you to be legally vetted before commenting on the matter.

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