Can your side hustle get you fired?

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In the age of pandemics and other socio-economic upheavals, relying on a single income may prove risky, especially as joblessness continues to rise.

Statistics South Africa reports an unemployment rate of 32.5%, the highest it has been since the survey was initiated in 2008. A report conducted by the Henley Business School shows that as many as 27% of working South Africans currently have side hustles.

Tertius Wessels, Advocate and Legal Director of Strata-g Labour Solutions, says employees must know what their employment contract and work policy states about supplementing their income with another job or personal business.

“As the law does not explicitly limit employees from having a second job, staff members who may find themselves with more flexibility owing to the increase in remote working may want to fill that gap with a side gig”, says Wessels.

According to Wessels, employees often feel having a supplementary income does not violate their employment relationship with their employer as there is often little perceived conflict of interest, especially when the correct policy clearly defining the expectations of an employee and side hustles are not in place.

It is the responsibility of the employees to let their employers know if they are involved in moonlighting or have a business outside of the workplace.