Job Sharing

Job sharing is an arrangement whereby two people share the responsibilities of one position with the goal of providing seamless service to clients, colleagues, and supervisors. Job sharing is a form of regular part-time work that splits hours and responsibilities (evenly or unevenly) within a position.

Employees can explore different job-sharing scenarios with their supervisors. For example, two employees may work half of a regularly scheduled full-time job—or two-and-a-half days each per week—with or without overlap; or each employee may work three days per week with one day overlapping (leaving one, less busy day uncovered each week).

Potential Benefits of Job Sharing

  • Employees have the advantage of part-time work in a position that requires full-time coverage.
  • Both job-sharing partners receive health coverage if working at least 50% of their regular schedules.
  • Each job-sharing employee shares ideas and responsibilities with a partner.
  • Job sharing can facilitate the retention of valued employees.
  • May increase the breadth of skills and experience as it includes two parties.
  • May increase productivity and morale.
  • May decrease departmental absenteeism, since partners might cover for each other.
  • May provide coverage by two people during peak hours or when two projects or activities demand simultaneous attention.
  • Creates a talent pool that may fill future full-time openings.
  • Can be used for phased-in retirement to reduce the employee’s hours over time and train his or her replacement.

Potential Challenges of Job Sharing

  • Finding and maintaining the relationship with a compatible partner.
  • Replacing a partner who leaves.
  • Dividing the work equitably to achieve a balanced team.
  • Added effort to supervise job-sharers as individuals and as a team.
  • Additional systems for communication may be needed with managers/supervisors, coworkers, and clients.
  • Difficulty in reversing the arrangement.
  • Additional space may be required if overlap days are chosen.
  • Loss of benefits to any employee working less than 50%.

Proposals

An employee's proposal for job sharing should address:

  • Division of responsibilities between partners.
  • Plan for days and hours of work for each partner, including possible overlap.
  • Clearly defined responsibilities for each partner.
  • How job-sharers will communicate with each other, their supervisors, coworkers, and clients.
  • How each partner will be evaluated, both individually and as a team member.
  • A plan for when a job-share partner leaves.
  • A plan for when the trial job-share arrangement doesn’t work.

Learn more about developing a proposal.

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