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How can I tell if my employee has a second job?

Having employees with second jobs is quite common these days. However, as an employer, you need to be aware if your employees have additional jobs, as it can impact their performance and abilities in their role with your company. Here are some signs that may indicate an employee has a second job and steps you can take.

Signs an Employee May Have a Second Job

Here are some behaviors that could suggest an employee has additional employment:

  • Frequently calling in sick or exhausted at work
  • Needing to leave early or come in late more often
  • Declining overtime or weekend work
  • Appearing distracted, stressed, or disengaged
  • Productivity and quality of work declining
  • Misuse of sick days and other time off
  • Repeatedly needing time off for personal reasons
  • Unexplained gaps in employment history
  • Vague explanations for absences or tardiness

While none of these signs guarantee a second job, they could indicate your employee is overextended. Having a second job is not illegal, but you’ll want to determine how it may impact their work for your organization.

Asking Employees about Additional Jobs

The most straightforward way to find out is simply asking your employee. However, there are right and wrong ways to have this conversation.

Don’t make assumptions or accusations about their second job. Instead, have an open discussion about changes you’ve noticed in their schedule, performance, or energy levels at work. Explain why you need to know if they have additional jobs and how it affects their role.

Make it clear you are not prohibiting second jobs but want to discuss if adjustments need to be made. They may be taking the other job to make ends meet or pursue professional goals. Your aim is finding a workable solution, not disciplining the employee.

Updating Employment Contracts

If additional jobs are impacting an employee’s performance, consider updating their contract. You can require they disclose and request approval for second jobs going forward. This allows you to evaluate potential conflicts of interest or scheduling issues.

Non-compete clauses prohibiting jobs in the same industry are also an option. However, overly broad non-compete agreements have faced legal challenges in some states.

Second Job Policy Options

  • Require disclosure and approval for additional jobs
  • Restrict second jobs with direct competitors
  • Limit outside work hours (e.g. no more than 10 hours weekly)
  • Require punctuality and attendance standards be met before allowing second jobs
  • Prohibit second jobs altogether if conflicts persist

Any added policies should be consistently enforced and comply with state laws. Consult HR guidance and legal counsel when instituting new clauses or restrictions.

Tracking Time and Attendance

Closely monitoring employee hours on the job can also indicate if they are juggling too much. Here are some tips for tracking attendance:

  • Implement a digital time clock or sign-in sheets
  • Require advance notice and approval for schedule changes
  • Enforce strict policies around punctuality and unexplained absences
  • Note patterns like frequently missing Mondays or Fridays
  • Compare productivity logs to time in the office

At a minimum, keeping accurate records of employee hours can help identify problems early on.

Performance and Workload Changes

Second jobs often lead to gradual declines in work quality and productivity. As a manager, track these metrics for changes:

  • Quality of work – more errors or missed details
  • Missing deadlines or delays
  • Need for reminders on standard tasks
  • Mistakes due to distraction or fatigue
  • Working slower than typical pace

You can use performance reviews or surveys to get feedback directly from the employee on their workload. They may admit being stretched thin from a second job.

If there are multiple issues, a second job may not be the only factor. Rule out other problems by talking with the employee before making conclusions.

Second Job Impact on Benefits

Some employee benefits packages, like healthcare insurance, are based on the hours worked for your company. A substantial second job could impact their eligibility if your organization has a minimum hour threshold.

Consult your benefits providers if this is a concern. You may need to adjust the employee’s hours to maintain coverage.

If you provide retirement plans like 401(k) accounts, the second job also expands their overall income. Make sure they are aware of contribution limits if they participate in multiple workplace plans.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

Second jobs in similar industries or with competitors could create conflicts of interest. Employees in product development, marketing, or sales may share inside information, whether intentionally or not.

Employees should be upfront about additional roles that may compete or overlap with their position. Review any non-compete contracts already in place as well.

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

  • Require approval for jobs in the same industry
  • Prohibit overlapping work hours
  • Prevent access to proprietary company data
  • Enforce confidentiality and non-disclosure rules

In some cases, the second job may need to be discontinued if core interests conflict and risks are unavoidable.

Accommodating Second Jobs

Working with the employee to make accommodations can be beneficial before resorting to disciplinary action. Some options include:

  • Adjusting scheduling to allow adequate rest between jobs
  • Permitting use of vacation time to prevent fatigue
  • Offering unpaid leave for limited periods
  • Allowing alternate shifts or remote work
  • Restricting hours at the second job

If performance improves with flexibility, it demonstrates good faith efforts on both sides. However, you may need to prohibit the additional job altogether if issues continue.

Disciplinary Action

If the second job results in clear policy violations or performance declines, disciplinary steps may be warranted:

  1. Verbal warning on the impact of the second job
  2. Written warning outlining required changes and expectations
  3. Final notice to restrict or cease the secondary job
  4. Termination if improvements are not made by deadlines

Follow standard HR protocols and document all discussions. Before termination, show how alternatives were offered wherever feasible.

Legal Considerations

While dual employment itself does not violate labor laws, using the wrong approach can put you at risk for claims of discrimination or wrongful discipline.

Be sure policies are enforced uniformly rather than targeting individual classes of employees. Never terminate someone solely based on having a second job.

Consult experienced legal counsel when creating new contract terms or addressing conflicts related to additional employment.

Avoiding Wrongful Discipline

  • Document all performance issues and policy violations
  • Follow disciplinary procedures consistently
  • Accommodate second jobs associated with protected classes (e.g. religious, disability)
  • Show how the second job, not the employee, is the issue
  • Provide alternatives before moving to termination

When to Take Further Action

In most cases, working with the employee resolves problems from a second job. But if performance declines become severe or risks are unavoidable, you may need to prohibit it altogether.

Signs it’s time for an ultimatum:

  • Attendance, punctuality, or work quality reach unacceptable levels
  • Inability or unwillingness to cut back hours at the second job
  • Dishonesty or lack of transparency about the additional position
  • Conflict of interest with competitors
  • Violating policies on data protection, social media, etc.
  • Fatigue creates hazards or accidents

Have a frank discussion on the extent of the issues. Provide a firm timeline to make changes if the job is to continue.


Having staff take on second jobs outside their role with your organization is not uncommon. Being upfront about additional employment allows both parties to communicate concerns and expectations.

Monitor for signs the extra workload is impacting performance or policy compliance. Address problems promptly by adjusting schedules, restricting hours, or formal disciplinary action.

While prohibiting second jobs altogether may sometimes be necessary, offering flexibility and solutions demonstrates good faith as an employer.