Working more than one job

What responsibilities employees have towards their employers when working more than one job.

There is no general rule preventing a person from having more than one job at the same time. Having more than one job might mean working for a second employer or working in the employee's own business.

In each situation, however, employees must make sure that they meet their responsibilities to their employers and keep themselves and others safe at work.

Responsibilities to employers

An employer must have a real reason based on reasonable grounds if they want to put in their employee’s employment agreement that they can’t work for another person, or they need their employer’s consent to work for another person. This reason must be stated in the employment agreement.

Examples of real reasons include:

  • protecting your employer’s commercially sensitive information
  • protecting your employer’s intellectual property rights
  • protecting your employer’s commercial reputation
  • preventing a real conflict of interest that can’t be managed except by preventing secondary employment, in your employment agreement.

These reasons would only be good if they were based on reasonable grounds.

Regardless of what is contained in their employment agreement, all employees also have duties to their employers. These duties include responsibilities not to mislead or deceive their employer, or act in a way that damages their employer's business or breaches confidentiality. An employee should not use their working time and resources from one job to do tasks for their other job. Employees who work for more than one employer should make sure that this doesn't have an impact on their ability to perform well in each job. Employers and employees must also act in good faith towards each other, which includes open and honest communication.

Health and safety at work

Employees have a responsibility to take reasonable care for their own health and safety while at work. They must also take reasonable care that their actions don’t adversely affect the health and safety of other persons.

The WorkSafe New Zealand website (external link) has more information about health and safety at work.

Employees who have two jobs need to make sure that the hours worked and the nature of the work does not make them so fatigued that they, or others, are at risk of harm on either job.

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