According to new research from insurance provider, Aviva, one in five (19%) of adults in the UK have started a ‘side hustle’ since March 2020 and almost one in six (16%) claim to earn upwards of £1,000 a month from their new venture. Just under two thirds (63%) of those who started a side hustle since March 2020, the equivalent of 6.49 million people in the UK, are still active in side hustles today. 37% have returned to their day jobs being their main source of income now that Covid-19 lockdowns have ended and normality has ensued.[i]
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is a way for individuals to earn extra income by starting and running a business or performing a service on the side, outside of their regular job. Side hustles can be a great way to pursue a personal passion or hobby or to try out a new business idea without committing to it on a full-time basis.
What can we do to prevent our employees from undertaking side hustles?
It is common for employers to include an ‘outside interests’ clause in their employees’ contracts of employment. Such a clause places a blanket ban on employees undertaking outside business activities unless they have been previously approved by the employer. Another option might be to limit the restriction to businesses which are similar to or in competition with the business of the employer. In any event, most employers will probably want to have the right to veto the outside activities of an employee if they might impinge on their ability to do their job, even where those activities are completely unconnected to the employer’s business.
Should we prevent our employees from undertaking side hustles?
It is advisable for employers to consider permitting employees to undertake side hustles unless they impinge on an employee’s ability to carry out their role or the activities compete with the business of the employer for the following reasons:
- Many sectors are finding it difficult to attract and retain employees. Applicants may turn down offers of employment if they are prevented from undertaking a side hustle during that employment and existing employees may choose to take up alternative employment with an employer who permits them to undertake a side hustle.
- In the current, difficult, financial times, employees may be undertaking side hustles to make ends meet.
- If an employee undertakes a side hustle related to a hobby or their wellbeing, it is likely to be good for their confidence and mental health, meaning that the employee will be more productive and happier in their substantive role.
What do we need to be aware of if we permit our employees to undertake side hustles?
If an employee is permitted to carry out any other work, they should be asked to give the employer details of the hours worked, as all time spent working is aggregated for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). This is because an employer may commit an offence under the WTR if it does not take reasonable steps to ensure its workers do not work more than 48 hours per week on average over a reference period (usually 17 weeks), unless they have opted out in writing
What should we do if we don’t have an outside interests clause in our employees’ contracts of employment?
If you do not currently have an outside interest clause in your contracts of employment and want to include one, you will need to amend the wording of your contracts of employment and consider any consultation that may need to take place with existing employees to introduce the amended contracts of employment. Please contact a member of our employment & HR team for specialist advice in this area.
[i] Aviva 13 June 2022 One in Five Brits has Started a Side Hustle since March 2020. Viewed on 22 December 2022. Accessible at https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2022/06/one-in-five-brits-have-started-a-side-hustle-since-march-2020/.