Guide

Employing part-time workers

Introducing job-sharing

Job-sharing is an increasingly popular way for people who used to work full time to move into part-time work.

What is job sharing?

Job-sharing is when two - or sometimes more - people share the responsibility, pay and benefits of a full-time job.

The job sharers share the pay and benefits in proportion to the hours each works. They may work split days, split weeks or alternate weeks, or their hours may overlap.

For example, one job sharer could work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, while the other works either the Thursday and Friday or the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, using the Wednesday as a handover period.

The benefits of job sharing

As an employer, the benefits of job-sharing include:

  • retention of valued workers who can no longer work full time and may otherwise leave
  • a wider range of skills, experience, views and ideas
  • increased flexibility to meet peaks in demand
  • greater continuity when one worker is sick or on holiday
  • a wider pool from which to recruit
  • increased commitment and loyalty
  • a potential reduction in absenteeism, sickness and stress

The advantages of job-sharing for workers include:

  • less stress, particularly if they are parents or carers
  • a greater sense of responsibility and control of working life

Introducing job-sharing arrangements

Once you have decided that a job-sharing arrangement may be suitable, you may need to agree with workplace representatives on how it will work.

During the recruitment process, you should aim to choose candidates who have demonstrated that they can work well with others, and have complementary skills and experience.

Managing job-sharing arrangements

Once the job sharers are in place, you need to ensure that:

  • you divide the work fairly
  • you explain how holidays, particularly customary days, will work
  • there are clear lines of responsibility
  • the job sharers have clear lines of communication between themselves to ensure continuity - eg introducing a log to supplement face-to-face communication between the job sharers

Measure both job sharers' performance against full-time members of staff. If there are performance issues, deal with them evenly rather than placing the responsibility on one job sharer rather than the other.

Don't forget to plan ahead for hiring a replacement - it may take you longer to recruit a suitable individual who can work the required hours if one of the job sharers leaves.