In an employment contract I red:

Devotion of All Working Time: During your employment, you shall devote the whole of your work time, attention and abilities to your duties and shall give the Company the full benefit of your knowledge, expertise, ingenuity and technical skills.

I was told this is not to be construed as a non-compete clause.

I've seen similar clauses called Employee’s Devotion of Time, which I guess are the same thing. What's the point of such clauses? Can anyone give a simple example? I think what it's trying to say is an employee can't make money by performing another job at the same time they are on the clock for this job. I think it's rather assumed that an employee takes small intermittent breaks, so would this prohibit things like trading stocks? Or taking a (5 minute) phone call that relates to another job? What if it's passive, for example they bring their personal laptop to work to run a bitcoin miner?

  • I would assume the point is to make it easier to fire employees who are perceived as slacking off. If local law requires the employer to justify such a firing, this way they don't have to prove that the employee's productivity was insufficient; they can just point to a term of the contract that was clearly violated. Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


Usually, a clause like this is used in contracts of full time managerial or professional employees of a business who are employed on a salaried or commissioned, as opposed to an hourly basis, in positions that are exempt from overtime requirements.

It basically prohibits moonlighting with a second job while employed at your current job. A non-competition clause, in contrast, would typically prohibit working for a competitor for some period of time after ceasing to work at your current employer.

This is concerned about spreading your time and efforts too thin, rather than competition. You could violate it even if your moonlighting job has no direct impact (other than loss of some of your full time services) on the firm that employs you in your primary job.

It does not prohibit you from having a personal life (e.g. going to the dentist, visiting family, watching a movie, etc.).

Normally, this is used as a backstop against gross abuses, with performance based evaluation as the primary means by which the employee is evaluated. The line between personal investment activity and moonlighting or an intensive hobby can be vague and it is usually only enforced in extreme cases.


It basically means you're going to be expected to focus on your work while you're at work / on the clock and doing your work to the best of your ability. An occasional check of the phone might be ok once you've sussed out the culture but bringing in a personal laptop rings all sort of alarm bells (distraction, taking company information, misuse of company network etc etc) - it might be ok, again depending on the culture but be very cautious.

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