facebookMoonlighting in Singapore: Is the Extra Income Worth The Risk?

Moonlighting in Singapore: Is the Extra Income Worth The Risk?

profileJin Hua Yeo

Source: GIPHY

Most of us have done this before in our student days.

Especially while studying in university, we’d probably have a part-time job on the days we don’t have classes.

Of course, back when you were still studying, it’s perfectly fine to be working a side job.

But that’s a totally different issue when you are outside working a full-time job.

You probably understand what I mean for some of you male readers, seeing as some of you might have done this while serving your two years in NS. (hopefully, you weren’t caught)

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Then again, many of you are struggling to make ends meet with just your full-time salary.

This is made worse with inflation making the costs of living higher.

So you start considering moonlighting as a possible option, but is it really worth the risk?

Let’s explore more in this article!

TL;DR: Why Moonlighting Is Discouraged by Employers in Singapore and Beyond

What is Moonlighting?

Source: Imgur

FYI, moonlighting does not mean exposing yourself to moonlight.

Lame jokes aside, moonlighting simply refers to a situation where a person is working a side job, be it a part-time job, freelancing, or even running their own side businesses outside of their full-time job.

Just imagine yourself working as a teacher in a school, and you give private tuition lessons during your free time over the weekends. That is one good example of moonlighting.

Is Moonlighting Illegal in Singapore?

Source: Tenor

Short answer, no.

Here’s the long answer:

Unless you’re a civil servant (I’m looking at you NS boys and/or girls) or a foreign employee holding a work permit or S pass, there are no laws stating that you cannot moonlight.


Although it’s not illegal to moonlight by Singapore law, most employers generally do NOT encourage their employees to go out, and moonlight since this might affect their performance in multiple ways.

As a result, the majority of the employment contracts have terms that do not allow their employees to go out and moonlight.

Remember to check your contract terms carefully before applying for your side job!

Why Do Singaporean Employers Generally Discourage Moonlighting?

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As we have talked about earlier, although it is not illegal, employers generally don’t want their employees to work in multiple ways.

Let’s take a look at some of these reasons:

1. Employees May Make Biased Company Decisions

Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

When employees moonlight, there is a chance that they might make biased business decisions in the interest of the company or business they are working as a side job in, leading to a conflict of interest.

Say, for example, you work in a gift hamper company and own a florist as a side business.

When the company tasks you with sourcing florists to supply them with flowers, you will recommend your own florist as a potential partner.

Of course, you are taking advantage of your position in the company to help your side business get more sales.

2. Affects Company Loyalty and Employee’s Ability to Stay on Task

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It’s not easy multitasking, isn’t it?

Even back in my uni days, I always found it hard to listen and transcribe my notes as the lecturer spoke.

Imagine having two of those lecturers speaking at the same time. You’ll definitely miss out on a lot of details.

Employers expect you to have a certain degree of loyalty to the company in your full-time job.

Working a part-time job carries the risk of being distracted while working in your full-time job, affecting your work performance.

3. Trade Secrets and Company Resources Might be Compromised

Source: Science ABC

While you work for a company, you will have access to specific resources and expertise.

Furthermore, you will be sent for training and development classes to develop your skills.

Employees working in another part-time job might use the company’s resources for the full-time job in their part-time job, which isn’t fair for the company.

Moreover, some companies may have certain trade secrets which may get leaked if the employee is working a part-time job in a related industry.

What if every soda company gets the coke recipe one day and starts selling their own version of the fan favourite drink? It’s the same principle.

4. Employee’s Physical and Mental Wellbeing May Get Affected

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We’re all humans, aren’t we?

Even machines need a break from constantly working every now and then, let alone us made of flesh and blood.

Working extra hours for a part-time job or a running business on the side is an additional toll on our physical and/or mental health.

If the employees fall sick, get injured or face burnout due to their side jobs, it will affect their performance in their full-time jobs, which employers would want to avoid.

Alternatives to Consider Besides Moonlighting

Besides the risk of losing your job, moonlighting carries an additional risk to your physical and mental wellbeing.

But with the high costs of living in Singapore, it can be pretty hard to make ends meet.

Here are a few alternatives you can look into to help stretch your buck and combat inflation:

Feel like there are many things you don’t use at home collecting dust? Sell them all on Carousell and earn yourself a quick buck!

Another way to help combat inflation is to start investing. Here’s a beginner-friendly guide if you’re new to investing.

For students out there with a lot of free time, here are some side hustles you can consider to earn some money in your free time!

About Jin Hua Yeo
Fantasy writer writing about essential tips in real life. Feels content about starting a career in content marketing.
You can contribute your thoughts like Jin Hua Yeo here.

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