Multiple Employment

Due to the pandemic, many are forced to look for other sources of income. These usually come in the form of having another job.

The question that usual comes to mind is: Is it allowed?

Before giving you the answer, and to raise your awareness of PH labor laws, let us first discuss some key concepts and principles to help you develop labor law skills, which may also you help you with similar concerns in the future. As the saying goes, it is better to teach someone to fish.

1. Employment is a contract

Why are we starting with something so obvious? Well, many people seem to skip this step whenever they have a labor law question. They forget to remember that they agreed to certain things when they took their job.

Yes, the employment contract is like any other contract. There are stipulations regarding your employment. There are dos and don’ts that you have to observe. Since you agreed to them when you signed, you have to comply to avoid being penalized.

So, to our primary question, ask yourself: Is there a stipulation against having another job?

There’s your answer.

Now, say it does have such a clause or if there is none but your HR says that there is a Company Policy against it, you might be wondering whether that is valid.

That’s where the next concept comes in.

2. Management prerogative

Employers have rights, you know, in case it has not occurred to you. It is called management prerogative. In essence, it is the right to regulate all aspects of employment according to its own discretion.

Yes, it is quite a broad right. From pre-employment to post-employment, the employer may decide what policies and procedures to adopt.

If you think about it, such right gives the employer quite the power. That is where labor law comes in. Through Supreme Court Decisions called jurisprudence, to be valid, management prerogative was subjected to two limitations:

1) Management prerogative must be exercised in good faith – meaning there is a legitimate business interest for say a policy, as opposed to arbitrary implementation of a rule; and,

2) Management prerogative must be exercised with due regard to the rights of the employees – these rights come in the form of labor law.

So, to our primary question: What if the employer stipulated in the employment contract or adopted a Company Policy against multiple employment? Is it valid?

Let’s analyze if the exercise of management prerogative is valid.

a. Good faith

Is there a legitimate business interest for such a policy?

For managerial employees, yes – in terms of them devoting their time, energy, and attention to ensuring that their areas of responsibilities are properly maintained. Managers represent the management and thus owe a lot of loyalty to the Company. That is why, in exchange for higher pay, Managers are expected to work more than eight hours or even on weekends when necessary without expectations of being paid overtime pay or premium pay.

The same, however, cannot be said nor expected from rank-and-file employees who usually have lower pay and often find it hard to make ends meet. Thus, some of them may explore another source of income, usually in the form of another job. What would then be a legitimate business interest to stop them from doing so?

For most business, there is none. This is usually observed in office-based employments, such as accountants, graphics artists, IT professionals, to name a few. They can be working for eight (8) hours for their main employers and then, after the work shift, go to a second job.

However, it may be argued, that there would be a few businesses where a policy against multiple employment would have a legitimate business interest. These are work which require rank-and-file employees to be intensely focused (and thus well-rested) to avoid making critical mistakes. For example, those who do surgeries, who operate expensive and technical machineries, and so on. (I purposefully avoided mentioning jobs because it is what the employees are doing which is the point.)

b. Employee’s rights

When employees entered into an employment contract with the employer, the employee did not surrender all of their non-work time. With the exceptions of legitimate overtime work and rest day work, the employees are free to do whatever they want with their free time. They may use it spending time with their family, going on a vacation, or doing another job due to financial reasons.

Thus, unless the employer has a legitimate business interest for adopting a policy against multiple employment, the right of the employees to their non-work time should be respected.

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