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SVC article

It can’t be all work, work, work

December 13, 2023

With more and more hard-working Brits taking on a second job to make ends meet, Charlotte Flatman, head of learning and development at SVC Solutions, asks what the implications might be for both employer and employee.

Tough times require hard decisions and more and more people are taking on another job to supplement their income to cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis. And while this extra work is boosting the country’s economy, it can take its toll on health and wellbeing of the worker.

Having a second job is an area which is definitely growing. Historically it was rare to come across an employee with second employment, a job which is sometimes referred to as a side hustle. It is a derogatory term but at the end of the day, employment is employment and if that is right for you, why not?

There has definitely been a rise in second jobs since we came out of the Covid pandemic, not least because of the cost of living crisis which followed so quickly afterwards. We have seen it especially among people in lower paid positions and single parents who are feeling under financial pressure, but there are things to consider.

Many organisations will set out the situation regarding second jobs in contracts and insist there is no conflict of interest. There are also legal factors which need to be taken into consideration, such as employees having to opt out of the agreement on the 48-hour working week.

There are also health and safety implications. We are only human and the extra work will take its toll, so while a second job might be OK in the short term, it could have implications on performance in their main job.

Someone who is out and about driving, for example, could put themselves and others at risk if they are too tired, so these are important factors to be considered.

Legally, the employer cannot restrict an employee taking on secondary employment unless they are working directly with competitors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences in terms of a person’s mental and physical health.

Ultimately, transparency and communication are key. I would advise anyone thinking of taking on a second job to speak to their employer first to establish what they can and can’t do. You might find there’s an easier solution with the main employer providing more hours or even increased pay.

They should be open in their conversation, even if they have asked for more money in the past and been told no, but remember their primary employment is significant and they should not want to do anything which might damage that.

I know the impact of taking on a second job from first-hand experience. Many years ago, I took on a weekend job. I was working ten hours on a Saturday as well as full time during the week. I admit I was becoming quite grouchy as I was working six days a week with not enough time to rest.

My employer took me to one side and said this is having an impact on you. I was tired and felt there was no down time mentally. In the end, my employer asked what it take for me not to work in other employment? I gave up the other employment with an increased salary in my main employment.

For more information on recruitment, training, development and human resources, go to https://svcsolutions.co.uk/

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