Job sharing is a form of flexible working which enables two employees to voluntarily share the responsibilities and duties of one full time job. Pay, benefits and leave entitlement for job sharing are allocated on a pro rata basis (divided approximately by hours worked). It is normally possible to share any job and is usually done by dividing the total number of hours that need to be worked in a number of ways, and with both partners doing the same type of work (although not necessarily the same amount of work, depending on the number of hours worked by each job sharing partner).
one partner can work Monday - Wednesday am and the other Wednesday pm - Friday, or
one partner works on the morning and the other partner works on the afternoon each day, or
they work alternate weeks but ensuring the appropriate overlap for handover.
Note that job sharing arrangements should not be confused with job splitting, where a role is divided by identifying the different elements of the job and allocating separate duties to each individual, for instance by capability, activity and/or projects.
Benefits of job sharing
There are many potential benefits of job sharing, including: better quality of and/or increased work outputs due to the input of a wider range of skills, experience and creativity of two people rather than one. It can also create learning opportunities where partners have different strengths and work experience so they can coach each other, as well as access to a wider range of roles for job sharers than simply working part time.
Filling a post on a job sharing basis
There are certain steps for job seekers when they want to fill a post on a job sharing basis, including advertising, application and interviews, applications from current employees, and arrangements when one job sharing partner leaves. Detailed information is described below:
Job sharing posts are advertised in line with usual departmental vacancy filling procedures. The vast majority of posts should be considered as suitable for job share. Where a vacancy manager considers that the role would not suit a job sharing arrangement, they must explain this in a business case, which they should submit to the relevant senior manager for approval. The decision from the senior manager must be obtained prior to advertising.
Application and interviews
It is recommended that employees who want to apply for job sharing posts, but currently do not have a job share partner, find a partner before applying so they can apply together. When applying as job sharing partners the employees must agree in advance how they will share the job, e.g. how to split working hours or the communication/handover process, so that this can be explained to the vacancy manager at the interview stage.
Then, job sharing applicants should complete separate application forms, CVs, statements of suitability and covering letters as stated in the vacancy advert. However, applicants should make it clear that they are applying as job sharers and give the name of their partner. Where it is not possible to find a job share partner before applying, candidates should contact the vacancy manager to check if there is any flexibility around applying for a post without a job share partner.
In the job sharing, there is a sift panel where it should consider the job sharing partners’ evidence separately against the criteria set in the vacancy advert. If both partners achieve a score which puts them ‘above the line’ set for invitation to interview, they should be invited to progress. If only one partner achieves a score which puts them above the line for interview then that partner might decide to continue to the interview stage alone, or withdraw their application.
After that, the process for interviewing candidates applying as a job sharing partnership (existing or new) should reflect the basis on which they have applied. The process should also provide the vacancy manager/panel with a sense of the team working skills in the job sharing partnership in order to judge the strengths and weaknesses they bring as a pair, as this is the basis on which they have applied. If both job sharing partners perform well at the interview and they are first and second on the merit list, they should be offered the role on a job sharing basis.
Applications from current employees
If an existing employee wants to reduce the number of hours they work and asks to do this through job sharing, rather than other forms of flexible working, they should first discuss this with their line manager. It might be possible to find a job sharing partner within their department, and if so, it will be the employee’s responsibility to do so. The employee should then follow the usual departmental processes for applications for flexible working.
Arrangements when one job sharing partner leaves
Lastly, partnerships can end when one partner wants to change their working pattern or leaves the job for any other reason. Line managers should clearly define and agree with both partners from the start, in writing, what procedure will be adopted if one job sharing partner leaves; particularly what will happen if a new partner cannot be found. Managers should refrain from putting any pressure on the remaining job sharing partner to work more hours than their contract provides, whether temporarily or permanently.
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