A job share arrangement is a form of regular part-time work in which two people share the responsibilities of one regular, full-time position. These positions are regular part-time and as such must involve at least a 50% commitment. Therefore, the time commitment of each of the two individuals participating must be at least 20 hours per week.
How Does Job Sharing Work?
The way to structure a Job Share is described below. There is no formal method of establishing a Job Sharing arrangement. Responsibilities and time can be split evenly or unevenly depending upon the demands of the job or the needs of the sharing team. Note: If one position is scheduled for less than 17.5 hours a week, it becomes temporary and cannot retain regular Part-time status. Innovative schedules can be designed to meet the needs of the Job Sharers and the office. Some common variations include:
Evenly Split days: (Overlap of 30 minutes per day for transition and communication)
Worker 1: 9:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., M-F
Worker 2: 12:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., M-F
Evenly Split Alternating Weeks: (Overlap of 30 minutes each Wednesday)
Worker 1: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Monday, Tuesday
9:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.: Wednesday
Worker 2: 12:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Wednesday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Thursday, Friday
Worker 1: 12:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Wednesday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Thursday, Friday
Worker 2: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday
9:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Wednesday
Unevenly Split Alternating Days: (Methods of communication outside of the work site must be
established to enable smooth transitions)
Worker 1: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Worker 2: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday
In addition to split time, other Job Sharing variations include split skills and split responsibilities.
- A staff member left a position after several years in the job to start a family. After being home for two years, she is ready to return, but would prefer a Part-time schedule. The individual who had taken over the position is pregnant and would like to return to a part-time position after maternity leave. Since they both knew the job and were well-respected by the supervisor, they were an ideal match for the job share arrangement. They split the job, added to each job some additional work the supervisor always hoped to have done and they each work 24 hours a week.
- Two members of an organization have taken on demanding community service commitments. The first individual would prefer to reduce to a half time position working mornings. The other individual would like to reduce his hours and work afternoons. They discussed their goals and went to their supervisor to request a shared position. They each had experience with the work and would be able to take a hiatus from the community service obligations when the other is on vacation. The office never will experience absence since they each have committed to fill in for the other during paid time off.
- If partners are allowed to trade time, it can shift the responsibility for daily scheduling from the supervisor to the sharers.
- Job sharers can cover each other when the other is out, therefore coverage is more continuous.
- If partners have significantly different skills and experience it can provide cross training and lead to skills expansion.
- The job sharers have to stay connected to each other and aware of everything that happens in their absence.
- Requires a team approach, cooperation, and outstanding communication skills.
- Is this right for the office/job?
- Can customer and peer contact be handled effectively if the job is shared?
- What skills and experience are needed for the job and is it possible to find two partners who can complement each other?
- Are the potential sharers willing and able to be flexible in terms of the demands of the job to ensure and enhance continuity?
- Do the staff member's previous work records indicate that they will be able to handle their Job Sharing responsibilities?
- If the job is a supervisory position, can the sharers project their authority as a single unit?
- Review the Guidelines for Managing and Working Flexibly, along with the Working Together for Success and Common Questions sections below.
- Complete Staff Member Flexible Work Arrangement Self-Assessment.
- Prepare a written proposal for your supervisor to clarify the desired arrangement and the likely benefits to the organization. The proposal should focus on the business case and be in alignment with your manager’s work style. Highlight the benefits to your supervisor and team. Contact the Worklife Office at email@example.com for assistance with drafting your proposal.
- advantage to the unit.
- proposed work plan.
- proposed schedule.
- plan for communication/cooperation.
- plan for continuity.
- Present your proposal to your manager/supervisor and ask how you can make your proposal stronger.
- If the proposal is accepted, a formal agreement can clarify approved plans and the pilot nature of the arrangement.
- Develop a communication plan that covers how you will be reached, scheduling meetings, and communication with internal and external stakeholders.
- The arrangement should be piloted. A pilot experience of 3-6 months is recommended.
- At the end of the pilot period, the arrangement should be evaluated. Either party may end the arrangement if it does not meet the organizational/or personal needs.
Working Together to Make it Work
If carefully planned and managed, Job Sharing can work very effectively for the supervisor, the Job Sharers and the work environment.
- Creating a Job Sharing arrangement. If a staff member requests a Job Sharing arrangement, it is more effective if that individual identifies a Job Share partner. The supervisor can support this effort by consulting with a Human Resources representative and posting the opening for a Job Sharer.
- Structuring the position. It is highly recommended that the Job Sharers be involved in structuring the Job Share from the very beginning. The first step is to analyze the job to be shared and get a detailed feel for the responsibilities of the job as well as the skills and experience required to do the job. Then, a decision must be made as to how best to split the job.
- Reviewing tasks. Once the two sharers have been identified, the following should be reviewed.
Responsibilities of each partner.
Coverage for each other.
Communication with co-workers and customers.
Means of communication with each other on a daily basis, whether via phone, voice mail, written notes, etc.
- Individual consultation. Supervisors should meet with each sharer individually to discuss performance expectations and the effect of Job Sharing on salary, benefits, performance appraisal, promotional opportunity and the various circumstances under which the Job Sharing arrangement might end.
- Responsibility toward the job if one of the Job Sharers leaves. The supervisor may require Job Sharers to commit to return to a full-time schedule or depart the job voluntarily if one of the Job Sharers is not working out from a performance standpoint, or decides to leave for other reasons. In this way, the supervisor will be more likely to support the request for a Job Share arrangement. Individuals leaving Job Share arrangements for any of the reasons described above will be considered to have ended employment voluntarily and will not be qualified for benefits under the Position Discontinuation and Staff Transition Policy.
"Will Job Sharing require more supervision?"
When asked, most supervisors of sharers say that, after initial training and coordination, there is less need for close supervision, particularly if emphasis is placed on the sharers' responsibility to make the arrangement work.
"If I let one person do it, won't everyone want to?"
In reality, most people either prefer a full-time job or are not interested in the coordination necessary to maintain a Job Shared assignment. However, when the right conditions exist, these arrangements can be very successful.
"How is the work divided?"
Employees may be jointly responsible for all aspects of the job, assigned specific areas of the position with expected ability to fill in for each other, or have a mixture of some joint and some specific responsibilities. The key to success is the team's ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the job.
"Who is responsible for initiating the Job Sharing request?"
Job Sharing opportunities may be identified and requests developed by prospective sharers and/or supervisors. The most successful Job Sharing arrangements are the result of collaboration among Job Sharers and their supervisors.
"How will benefits be affected by this arrangement?"
Since a Job Sharing arrangement is a variations of Part Time work, benefits are affected in much the same way. Any questions regarding benefits should be directed to PENN-Ben at 1-888-736-6236.
The Quality of Worklife Office has consulted with numerous individuals and supervisors on how to create an effective proposal, pilot arrangement and final plans. Please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.