Job sharing explained
A job share is a formal arrangement where two people voluntarily share duties and responsibilities of one full time post and the salary and benefits on a pro rata basis. Both partners take joint responsibility for the whole job. We recognise the benefits in enabling jobs to be available to staff wishing to job share, so the skills of those not able to work full-time may be fully utilised. While there is no automatic right to job sharing, the University will give fair and thorough consideration to all requests. It will respond positively where it is reasonable and practicable to do so and where the role and the operational requirements of the University, Faculty or Department will not be adversely affected.
How to apply for job sharing
Where it has been agreed that posts can be job shared, this should be stated in the advert. Refusal to agree to a job share proposal from existing employees must be justified on operational grounds. The feasibility of operating the post as a job share should be considered by consulting with their Head of Department and with Human Resources before any decision is taken to advertise. Please refer to the manager guidance) for flexible working requests and discussion with the appropriate HR Manager or Business Partner.
Distribution of hours, duties and responsibilities
The hours of each post will be agreed before the job share starts, and the total hours will not normally exceed the hours for a full-time post. Job sharing is different from job splitting which occurs when a job is split into two separate jobs, requiring very little interaction.
It is very important that there is an even balance of hours and an equality of responsibility between the two partners. Job sharing should not be agreed on a greater differential of hours than 60/40. An equal 50/50 split of hours is highly recommended to ensure that the responsibilities are divided and delivered equally.
Job sharers will have one common job description and each partner must be prepared to undertake the full range of duties. The duties may be split in a number of different ways − according to tasks, projects, student-related activity, client/service base. The line manager, in consultation with the job sharers, will determine the actual distribution of the duties either on an allocated basis, or completely shared duties or a combination of the two. This will be monitored by the line manager with the job share partners to establish whether or not the job share is effective operationally.
Job share agreement
Where a job share is agreed, each job sharer will sign a job share agreement. This includes a 12-week trial period and will apply to both existing and new posts. During the trial period, the line manager will meet with staff both individually and together to monitor and record how effective the post is working on an operational basis. The arrangement will be formally reviewed on a regular basis throughout the 12-week period and at a final review meeting at the end of the trial period.
Following the end of the trial period there will be a final review meeting. If the line manager concludes that the job share arrangements are not working effectively, the original post holder will revert to their original terms and conditions or be placed on the Redeployment Register to seek possible redeployment to another part time post. If neither of these alternatives is possible, the University will have to consider the termination of their contract in line with dismissals for some other substantive reason as set out in the capability policy and procedure.
If a trial period is not successful, the University will have to consider terminating the contract of those newly appointed to a job share post through the above procedure.
Holiday and sickness cover
Where one job sharer is absent due to sickness or annual leave, there is no obligation for their partner to cover the hours of the job share partner. However, during periods such as long-term sickness absence, maternity leave or recruiting a new job share partner, they should be prepared to consider, with their line manager, how the post can continue to operate flexibly. This may involve re-prioritising of duties, or where possible, increasing hours or adjusting the normal work pattern on a temporary basis. If a job sharer undertakes to work additional hours, they will be paid at plain time unless their weekly hours worked are in excess of the full-time hours (36.5 per week) from which point overtime would be paid if applicable.
Job sharers should not normally book leave at the same time as this can be disadvantageous operationally. Leave should be booked via the line manager in the usual way. Public holidays and discretionary days will be shared equally between partners on a pro-rata basis regardless of which days they normally work.
Job sharers have primary responsibility for ensuring good communication with each other, effective co-operation and continuity of work. A handover or overlap period is recommended but not compulsory and will be dependent on the nature of the role. In most cases an overlap of a minimum of one hour per week would be expected. The most appropriate methods of communication will be discussed and agreed before the job share commences.
If the shared role requires attendance at meetings, it may be a requirement for one job sharer to attend and pass on details of the meeting or to alternate the meeting dates to allow both partners to attend at different times of the week. If it is necessary for both partners to be present, the working pattern may need to be varied from time to time to accommodate this. This will be determined by the line manager.
Terms and conditions of employment
Each job sharer will receive a separate contract of employment in accordance with the hours to be worked.
Job sharers will:
- be paid pro-rata to the full-time rate for the number of hours worked
- be paid on a salary scale point according to each individual’s, previous experience, qualifications and skills
- be on the same grade in line with the University’s grading structure
- be considered for contribution pay on an individual basis in line with the University’s Contribution Pay Scheme
- receive pro-rata annual leave
- be entitled to normal provisions of the University’s sick pay entitlements
- be entitled to maternity/paternity/parental leave where appropriate in accordance with the University’s policies (any pay due will be on a pro-rata basis to the number of hours worked)
- be entitled to the pension benefits as detailed in the appropriate pension scheme
- have the same access to training and development opportunities as full-time staff
- have an initial 12-week trial period which runs in parallel with their probationary period for new staff to the University
Applying as a job sharer to a vacant post
An applicant may apply for a vacancy as part of a job share without a complementary job sharer. If they meet the essential criteria of the person specification, are shortlisted and selected as the best person for the job, consideration will need to be given to advertising for a job sharer. Any offer made will be subject to recruiting a job share partner through a single recruitment exercise.
Applying with a job share partner − linked applications
Where two applicants apply jointly for a job share vacancy on a job share basis, selection will be based on assessment of each individual against the person specification in line with our Recruitment and Selection Code of Practice. Where one part of a joint/linked application is rejected at either short-listing or after interview, the successful job share applicant will be given the option to continue with their application.
Applying for a job share as an existing post holder
A member of staff who wishes to share their current post should discuss the request with their line manager in the first instance. They should then follow the flexible working request procedure.
What happens when a job share partner leaves
As job sharers are contracted as inter-dependent partners, the departure of one will impact on the other's contractual position. This means that if one job share partner leaves and a replacement cannot be found to cover the remaining hours, the contract of the remaining job sharer may be terminated if no other part time post or alternative job share can be identified. Advice should be sought from Human Resources in these situations.
In the event of a job sharer leaving, the part time vacancy will be advertised following the normal recruitment procedure. On this basis, the other job sharer will also have the opportunity to apply to take up the post on a full-time basis.
If after advertising on at least two occasions (which may include one internal-only advert) another suitable job share partner cannot be found and a review of the operational needs of the department show that full time hours are required, recruitment for a full-time member of staff will be initiated. At this point the line manager should seek advice from Human Resources and consider the termination of the employment of the remaining job sharer by following the process of termination for some other substantive reason as set out in Section 14 of the University’s capability policy and procedure. The University will endeavour to redeploy the remaining job share partner during their notice period to a suitable alternative role with the same, or similar, hours of work.
Where a job share partner leaves temporarily, for example to take maternity or sabbatical leave, a recruitment procedure should be followed in the usual way.