Second jobs could be risky business – Stephen Connolly

Stephen Connolly is an Employment Partner at Blackadders

In the wake of Mr Paterson’s asserted breach of parliamentary guidelines, comparable accusations have been raised in opposition to different MPs. However, the query of second jobs and when they need to be permitted is one which all employers ought to think about.

There are not any normal restrictions which stop workers from holding secondary employment. The most typical authorized difficulty which employers would want to think about in such a state of affairs is whether or not throughout the 2 roles the worker is working hours in extra of the utmost 48-hour working week permitted by the Working Time Regulations.

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Government steering requires all of an worker’s working time to be counted. As such, employers ought to require workers with second jobs to inform them of hours labored for different employers so this could be monitored. Where secondary employment is prone to result in an worker recurrently working in extra of a 48-hour every week, the employer could contemplate asking the worker to signal an decide-out settlement which might disapply the traditional most.

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson within the House of Commons, London, as MPs debated an modification calling for a evaluate of his case after he obtained a six-week ban from Parliament over an “egregious” breach of lobbying guidelines. Picture: PA Wire

While taking over secondary employment isn’t prohibited, the place an worker chooses to do that, they nonetheless want to make sure that any extra position doesn’t see them act in breach of the contractual duties owed to their employer which is able to protect a business. It is regular for the employment contract to state workers ought to commit their entire time and a spotlight to their duties for his or her main employer throughout their contracted hours.

Equally, implied into each contract of employment is a time period that the worker will serve their employer with good religion and constancy. This obligation encompasses an obligation to not compete with the employer till the employment ceases and extends to the worker’s off-obligation time. Other implied duties which an worker will owe throughout their employment embrace an obligation to not disrupt the employer’s business; an obligation to not act ready of battle of curiosity; an obligation to reveal wrongdoing; and an obligation of confidentiality. Where there’s a failure on an worker’s half to stick to those duties, an employer would be justified in coping with issues underneath its disciplinary process.

Reliance on these implied phrases could not at all times present enough certainty or safety to an employer that an worker’s secondary employment is not going to create a danger to its business. Where that is so, employers have the choice of together with an specific prohibition on any secondary employment within the worker’s contract. As another, it isn’t unusual for contracts of employment to state that secondary employment is permitted however solely with the permission of the first employer. That permits the employer a discretion over what outdoors actions the worker could have interaction in.

Care must be taken when looking for to depend on contractual bans on secondary employment. They will solely be applicable the place there’s a real want for them. Thought must be given to the seniority of the worker being requested to conform to such a restriction. It is unlikely going to be truthful to ask a component time worker (who could have one other half time job elsewhere) to conform to this. Where there isn’t a apparent battle between main and secondary employment, there would seem to be no actual foundation for an employer to implement such a clause. As with Mr Patterson, one necessary issue which can make such a clause appropriate would be whether or not somebody, being paid by the general public purse, is ready to exploit that main position for the needs of any secondary employment.

A current report indicated 45 of 129 MSPs who sit at Holyrood declared some type of secondary revenue over and above their MSP wage. This suggests it isn’t simply Westminster which has a problem to deal with with regard to second jobs. While these are excessive-profile circumstances which relate to public places of work, it will be significant for employers to fastidiously assess what dangers could come up from workers taking over secondary employment and what steps must be taken to correctly defend their companies.

Stephen Connolly is an Employment Partner at Blackadders

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