Working elsewhere during sickness absence

You have discovered that an employee who’s been off sick is working elsewhere for another employer. Does this give you automatic grounds for disciplinary action on the basis that their sickness absence is fraudulent?


Approach with caution. Always check your sources. Consider whether the person reporting the moonlighting has a malicious motive or they are simply wrong.


How did the reporter gain the information and what is the proof? Has the absent employee posted on social media or has someone witnessed them working elsewhere.


Whilst the employee is or might be working elsewhere it does not necessarily mean that their sickness absence is fraudulent.


  • The reason for the employee’s sickness absence.
  • The nature of their work for you.
  • The nature of the alleged moonlighting.
  • Whether you have any policies or rules regarding secondary employment or working during sickness absence.


Where an employee’s secondary employment is incompatible with their purported condition such as someone who claims to have a bad back but is working elsewhere in a warehouse carrying out a physically demanding role, that would be difficult to explain. If their conduct is a clear breach of a policy that you have drawn to their attention you would have grounds to dismiss them.


Prevention is better than cure. Check that your contracts and policies set out your rules on secondary work and that you have evidence that your employees know your rules and the consequences of breaking them.