Staffing Management

Sample Job-Sharing Policy and Request Form

By Staff Report

Sep. 19, 2002

This policy was prepared by the division of human resources in the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration. It includes:

What is job sharing?
Job sharing is a flexible means of pooling the talents and energies of two part-time employees to perform the work of one full-time job. Employers can use this option to accommodate the changing workforce and business needs.

Is job sharing an option in the state personnel system?job sharing, team
Job sharing is an option that has had executive support in the state personnel system since 1977. It has been endorsed by several governors, through executive orders, as an appropriate and beneficial practice. Appointing authorities are urged to utilize this flexible management tool.

When is job sharing appropriate?
There are almost no situations or jobs where job sharing is inappropriate,even supervisory or managerial jobs. It can be used in any number of situations,on an ongoing or as-needed basis, including the following examples:

  • An alternative to layoffs and temporary help;
  • An apprenticeship or training program;
  • A potential accommodation for those with permanent or temporary disabilities;
  • A way to retain valued employees during life changes, e.g., parenting,elder care, approaching retirement, continuing education which benefits the employer, etc;
  • A method for utilizing talent that is also in high demand in the private sector; and,
  • A means of attracting workers from a shrinking, changing labor pool,especially in hard-to-fill positions.

What are the benefits of job sharing?
    An increasing number of workers are deciding that part-time work is most suitable in meeting their career and personal circumstances. Job sharing allows the state to accommodate these desires while capitalizing on the skills, energy,and talent of these employees. Several studies document the advantages of well-planned job sharing.

Increased productivity. Studies show that job sharers may be more productive than their full-time counterparts who are affected by stress, fatigue, burn-out,etc. Job sharing employees tend to be more motivated because of a personal interest in the success of this voluntary arrangement. Reports also say that less supervision is actually required of these employees.

Lower turnover and higher morale. Generally, employees perceive their jobs more favorably in shared situations and because the arrangement meets their needs, they are less likely to leave. Increased job satisfaction results in increased customer satisfaction.

Lower training costs. A trained partner is on hand to provide stable performance and to train a replacement.

Lower overtime costs. Two highly motivated part-time employees working close to 100 percent capacity can reduce costs and the need for overtime from one full-time employees.

Better job coverage. The partners have the flexibility to schedule time to cover for each other’s vacations and illnesses, which can potentially reduce disruption from leave. The workload can be better managed and decrease the need for layoffs and temporaries.

Improved quality. The collaboration of two highly motivated people with complementary backgrounds can improve work processes and the quality of problem solving and decision making. Complementary backgrounds of the partners can enhance the talents brought to the job and the work unit.

Competitive edge. With the demographics and changing values in the workforce,recognizing and accommodating personal and work needs gives the employer the competitive edge in recruiting from a shrinking pool of talent. The scarcity of skilled workers is not expected to ease in the foreseeable future.

What are the costs of job sharing?
    There may be some additional costs to job sharing. They are marginal and studies indicate they are quickly offset by improved productivity and other benefits. The arrangement can actually result in a net savings depending on how it is set up.

  Recordkeeping. Either two part-time positions must be created or one is created and the current full-time position reduced. Two sets of paperwork will be needed for payroll, leave records, job descriptions, performance documents,etc.

Salary. There is no additional cost. In fact, this is an area where savings may be realized if the new partner is at a lower base pay rate (same pay range or a lower-level class).

Benefits. Benefits premiums and unemployment insurance are required for both employees. There should be no additional cost for PERA and again, there could bea savings in the employer’s contribution depending on the salary of the new partner.

Leave time. There is no additional cost. If employees fill in for each other when absent, there is less disruption and lost productivity from the leave.

    Equipment and space. There is no additional cost unless schedules overlap significantly.

How is job sharing created?
Careful planning and patience is needed if job sharing is to succeed. It can be initiated by current employees, applicants, a supervisor or manager. Many times, when employees and managers actively work together, the better the arrangement. The following steps are offered as assistance in establishing the arrangement and their order should be adjusted to fit the specific circumstances.

  1. Find a partner. A partner can be someone in the organization or outside.Preferably, it is someone you have worked cooperatively with before. Consider backgrounds, which can be similar or complementary. Consider compatibility,e.g., like and respect for each other, the other person’s flexibility, ability to communicate openly and easily, similarity of work styles and the ability to work through differences together. Consider and discuss personality traits,e.g., personal preferences, career goals, work habits, past work histories,expectations.
  2. Find a job to share. Prepare a joint resume listing combined knowledge,skills, and abilities. Talk about work activities you enjoy. Find a job or several potential job classes of interest. Make initial contact with the agency or manager.
  3. Develop a plan. Consider all the aspects and potential issues of job sharing for the work unit. Create a work plan that outlines the specifics of the arrangement for the work unit. Some considerations include the following.
  1. Objectives. Define what the goals of the arrangement are and why it is good for the work unit. Think about all perspectives: the partners, co-workers, customers, managers.
  2. Schedule. Determine the actual work times. Consider the adequacy of staffing and any impact on the schedules of others (e.g., co-workers, subordinates). If swapping of work schedules is allowed, prior approval is recommended.
  3. Division of duties. How will the work of the job be divided? Job sharing consists of two basic options, paired (same class) or split level (different classes), which will impact how the work is divided. Consider the degree of interchangeability or individuality desired. Also consider equipment needs and usage.
  4. Communication. Work this out ahead of time. The goal is to keep the work moving on schedule. How will sharers communicate with each other, e.g., notes, log or diary, phone, e-mail? How will the partners communicate with others, e.g., take calls for each other? How will the supervisor communicate with them, e.g., talk to one or both for a given assignment?
  5. Supervisory arrangements. Consider what things will require more or less of the supervisor’s time. The employees’ personal interest in protecting the arrangement can make it easier to supervise.
  6. Criteria for review of requests. The manager should determine what will be considered when reviewing a request. Consider under what circumstances the arrangement may need to be terminated.
  7. Potential issues. Consider other factors that may impact the arrangement. For example, identify costs, any extra training, length and permanency of the arrangement, times to reevaluate the arrangement, what will happen if one partner quits (how long to allow for a replacement), how to handle accountability and any differences in quality or production of work.
  1. Sell the plan. Employees submit a written request and meet with the manager in person to discuss it. Reach an understanding and document the specifics of the arrangement. Be prepared to discuss the details of the plan.Remain flexible. Discuss concerns and jointly resolve any differences. Remember that job sharing is a privilege, not a right, and may need to be modified for business reasons.

Hint: Try a pilot or trial run and address issues as the come up. Expect some adjustments along the way.

For more information, contact your human resources office.

 


SAMPLE FORM

JOB SHARING REQUEST

I. (Employees complete this section.)

Department: _______________ Division: _______________

Date: _________________

Name: _________________Class Title:__________________

Name: _________________Class Title:__________________

Position #: ___  Exempt: ____  Non-Exempt: ______

Position #: ___  Exempt: ____  Non-Exempt: ______

Describe your proposed work schedules:

Start/Stop Times

Start/Stop Times

Sunday Sunday
Monday Monday
Tuesday Tuesday
Wednesday Wednesday
Thursday Thursday
Friday Friday
Saturday Saturday
Total Weekly Hours Total Weekly Hours

How will the duties be divided or shared? Attach a listing of the duties and responsibilities (e.g., PDQ) for the two positions.

How will your proposed job sharing sustain or enhance your performance and that of the work unit?

What potential barriers could your arrangement raise with:

1. External customers

2. Internal customers

3. Co-workers

4. Your manager

How do you suggest overcoming any challenges with these groups?

(If applicable): Describe any additional work-related equipment/expense that your arrangement might require. Detail any short- or long-term cost savings that might result from your job share.

1. What communication methods do you propose for you and your partner and you and your supervisor?

2. What is your plan for covering absences?

3. What do you propose to do if you need to replace a partner?

4. What review process with your manager do you propose for constructive monitoring and improvement of your job share? Are there measurable outcomes to use in the review process?

II. (Manager completes this section.)

Request for job sharing is____ approved or _____ declined. If declined, please describe why:

Date: _____ Manager’s, or designee, signature_______________________

Date: ____  Employee’s signature(s)_______________________________

Effective Date of job share: Beginning_________________________________

(If option is time limited or terminated): Ending_____________________________

Manager: Please send copies of this form and any attachments to the human resources office for the official personnel file.

From “Alternative Work Schedules,” May 2002, reprinted with permission of HR Center Series, published by the International Personnel Management Association, 1617 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA.

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