Job Sharing

What are common job sharing arrangements, how to determine its suitability, and key implementation tips.

What Is Job Sharing

An arrangement that allows two or more part-time employees to share the responsibilities of one full-time employee. Responsibilities may be divided by function, geography, time, or workload.

Job sharing employees will usually work at different times during the day or week, or on alternate weeks. This arrangement may involve a time of overlap to maintain continuity. Pay, holidays and other benefits will usually be proportionate to the number of hours worked.

Why It Matters

Job sharing can help you to retain employees who may be seeking early retirement, by bridging the gap between a steady career job and retirement. Employees returning to work (e.g. women returning from maternity leave) or coping with other commitments (e.g. caring for elderly parents) are also likely to find this arrangement ideal.

In addition, job sharing allows for succession planning, especially if the job role is paired between a senior and junior employee, providing a good platform for the transfer and development of skills and knowledge.

As a recruitment and retention strategy, job sharing requires low cost to introduce and maintain.

What Are Common Job Sharing Arrangements

There are three basic types of job sharing arrangements:

Shared Responsibility

This is where two employees jointly share the responsibilities of one full-time job. They perform the full range of tasks associated with the single position they fill. They are interchangeable in their areas of work. This is most suited where work is ongoing rather than project-based.

Divided Responsibility

This is where two employees share one full-time position and divide responsibilities, usually by project or client group. They perform separate tasks and provide back up for each other when necessary. This is most suited when the work can be divided according to project or client group.

Mix of Shared and Divided Responsibility

Most job sharing duties fall between the spectrum of shared responsibility and divided responsibility (e.g. employees have individual duties and shared duties).

Some common work patterns for 5-day workweeks include:

  • Split days (e.g. mornings or afternoons)
  • Split weeks (e.g. 2.5 consecutive days each)
  • Alternating split weeks (e.g. 2 days on Weeks 1 and 3, and 3 days on Weeks 2 and 4)
  • Alternate weeks (e.g. 5 consecutive days followed by the next week off)

How to Determine the Suitability of Job Sharing

In addition to the 4-step implementation model, you should:

If the barriers to job sharing cannot be resolved, you may consider other types of flexible work arrangements.