Should You Tell Your Full-Time Employer About Your Gig Economy Job?


In the United States alone, nearly 56,700,000 Americans took part in the gig economy by freelancing according to the latest Freelancing In America report commissioned by the Freelancer’s Union and Upwork. With so many people freelancing and taking part in the gig economy, it’s no wonder that people want to know if they should tell their full-time employer. Freelancing and gig work is becoming much more popular. We want to shed some light on what you should share with your employer.

The short answer to this question is “it depends.” It might make sense for you to take the leap and tell your employer about your gig economy job, or you may want to keep it to yourself for a while. Let’s delve deeper into this question though with a few questions and suggestions.

Is It Serious?

Before you tell your boss, ask yourself about the seriousness of your side gig. Are you just getting started or is your business beginning to ramp up. You don’t have to tell your boss at the thought of wanting a side gig.

What Does Your Contract Say?

Since so many people have a side gig now, most companies don’t have a ban on having one as long as there is no conflict of interest. If you have access to the paperwork you signed when you started your job, though, that’s a great place to look to be sure.

Take a look at your contract and employee handbook to be sure that your side gig is okay with your company!

Communicate Your Freelance Work

Even if your contract doesn’t explicitly state that you should be open about this, you should probably do so anyway. You want to be as honest as possible with your employers. You want to control this narrative as much as possible. They shouldn’t find out by randomly checking out your LinkedIn or through talking to another one of your coworkers.

Communicate what you do with your employer so they can understand how to go forward with this information.

Help Them Understand That You Can Do Both

As you are communicating your freelance work, make sure that they understand that you can do both. Let your employer know that you only work on gig work during the weekends and after work. If you are doing work in similar fields, explain how your company differentiates itself from theirs. Hopefully, though, your gig work is in a pretty different industry from your job.

Agree To Sign A Contract

If your freelance work is too similar to your 9-5, you may want to agree to sign a contract that you won’t swipe any of your work clients for yourself. Depending on the industry you are in, this may be difficult to achieve. Signing this contract may help your employer have more peace of mind.

Keep Your Full-Time Work & Gig Work Separate

Above all else, keep your full-time and gig work separate. Even if your boss has told you that can work on your gig work during lulls in business, you should keep your gig work away from your job. You don’t want any chance of mixing up the work that you are doing. Be professional, and work on your gig work on your own time.

Your time at work needs to be used to create amazing outputs for your team. Now that your boss knows you have a side hustle or gig job, they may analyze what you do more aggressively. As long as you get your job done, though, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Learn more about the state of the contingent workforce using our report with