At this point, it’s safe to say – for some – that remote work is here to stay. However, the proliferation of remote work has come with new opportunities and challenges for employers and employees.
Take, for example, the rise in dual employment, where employees work two jobs simultaneously without notifying their employers. In these situations, employees work full-time for two employers from the comfort of their homes – without letting their employers know they’re juggling two positions.
While we certainly aren’t condoning this behaviour, such trends might leave you wondering: is dual employment allowed in Canada? Below, we’ll discuss what you need to know about dual employment in Canada and considerations for individuals seeking dual employment.
What is “Dual Employment”?
Dual employment is when an employee who has a full-time position takes on a second full or part-time position with another company.
In the federal employee context, dual employment can mean something different. There, dual employment occurs when a permanent employee on an extended leave without pay takes another government position for a specified period. For more information on this definition of dual employment, see the Government of Canada’s page on dual employment.
Can I Have Two Jobs in Canada?
Subject to several factors (which we’ll outline below), dual employment is allowed in Canada. That is, no law prevents you from working for two different employers.
However, determining whether dual employment is appropriate in your situation is another matter.
Below are just a few considerations for individuals seeking dual employment.
The Terms of Your Employment Contract(s)
Regarding dual employment, the terms of your existing employment contract are key. For example, some employers may prohibit their employees from working a second job.
Alternatively, your employment contract may require you to be available outside of standard business hours. While such terms may not necessarily prohibit you from working a second job, taking on a second job may interfere with your obligations to your current employer.
Also, consider the nature of your “second job.” In many professions, you’ll be required to sign non-competition clauses that can impact the type of work you can pursue outside your current position.
Finally, because your employment contract states that you aren’t prohibited from taking a second job, it’s important to do your due diligence. For instance, while your employment contract may not explicitly state that you are prohibited from taking a second job, company policies or implied terms may say otherwise.
Your Job Requirements
One day job can be hard enough – adding another part or full-time position to your plate takes extra hours out of your day and can lead to stress, fatigue, and other challenges. Chances are that those symptoms will seep into your current role and impact your job performance.
Ultimately, we all deal with work stress and fatigue. However, if a second job is affecting your ability to perform in your role, it will have negative consequences for your employment. Think critically about whether dual employment is right for you, given your current job demands.
Your Employer’s Expectations
Even if your employment contract doesn’t prohibit dual employment, it’s important to consider your relationship with your employer and their expectations before you take on a second job. Like the potential impact of a second job on your performance, dual employment could impact your relationship with your employer. Ensuring you are open and honest with your employer (or employers) about your employment situation is key for navigating dual employment.
Another consideration – particularly for remote workers – is employer equipment. For example, if you have been given a work computer or other work equipment, you will likely be prohibited from using that equipment for work outside of your position. If, for example, your primary employer has given you a work laptop, and you are caught using that equipment while doing work for your second job, you will likely face disciplinary action. Consider whether you have the appropriate equipment to do both jobs effectively and, if additional equipment is needed, what equipment you will need to effectively do both jobs.
The Tax Consequences of Dual Employment
While the additional income that comes with dual employment is tempting, considering the tax consequences of taking a second job is important. A higher income will push you into a higher tax bracket. And, if you’re planning to do freelance work or run a small business, additional tax considerations will apply.
Dual Employment and Benefits
You’ll likely be eligible for benefits with each employer if you work two full-time jobs. While you may be able to sign up for both a primary and secondary plan and combine them to maximize your coverage, keep in mind that you’ll be paying for both plans – along with two sets of premiums and deductibles, which can become pricey. Depending on your coverage, having multiple policies and the coordination of benefits that comes along with it can create additional complication – especially when it comes to reimbursement. Make sure you complete appropriate research before signing up for a secondary benefits plan (if that option is available to you).
Do I Have to Disclose Dual Employment to My Employer?
Assuming that nothing in your employment contract prohibits you from taking a second job, you are not legally required to tell your employer about your second job.
However, it’s critical to be forthright to maintain trust with your employer(s). Letting your employer know about your intention to accept a second job in advance (and letting your second employer know about your existing employment) is recommended to ensure everyone is on the same page and avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.
Conclusions on Dual Employment in Canada
While, on its face, dual employment is allowed in Canada, the question becomes more complicated depending on the terms of your employment contract (not to mention your employer’s expectations).
Furthermore, there are several considerations for individuals considering dual employment, ranging from tax consequences to their well-being. These factors are important to think about before accepting an offer for a second job.
Contact an Ottawa Employment Lawyer at Tierney Stauffer LLP
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, the experienced lawyers at Tierney Stauffer LLP can provide advice for various employment concerns, including contracts, terminations, and much more. To discuss your legal matter with a member of our employment team, contact Tierney Stauffer LLP in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, and North Bay at 1-888-799-8057 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.