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Sample Job-Sharing Policy and Request Form

Here's one company's policy, explaining the benefits and costs of job-sharing. Also included: a sample job-sharing request form.

September 19, 2002

This policy was prepared by the division of human resources in the ColoradoDepartment of Personnel & Administration, November of 2001. It includes:

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

Is job sharing an option in the state personnel system?
   
Job sharing is an option that has had executive support in the statepersonnel system since 1977. It has been endorsed by several governors, throughexecutive orders, as an appropriate and beneficial practice. Appointingauthorities 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 temporarydisabilities;

  • A way to retain valued employees during life changes, e.g., parenting,elder care, approaching retirement, continuing education which benefits theemployer, etc;

  • A method for utilizing talent that is also in high demand in the privatesector; 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 mostsuitable in meeting their career and personal circumstances. Job sharing allowsthe state to accommodate these desires while capitalizing on the skills, energy,and talent of these employees. Several studies document the advantages ofwell-planned job sharing.

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

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

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

    Lower overtime costs. Two highly motivated part-time employees working closeto 100% capacity can reduce costs and the need for overtime from one full-timeemployees.

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

    Improved quality. The collaboration of two highly motivated people withcomplementary backgrounds can improve work processes and the quality of problemsolving and decision making. Complementary backgrounds of the partners canenhance 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 thecompetitive edge in recruiting from a shrinking pool of talent. The scarcity ofskilled 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 andstudies indicate they are quickly offset by improved productivity and otherbenefits. The arrangement can actually result in a net savings depending on howit is set up.

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

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

    Benefits. Benefits premiums and unemployment insurance are required for bothemployees. 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 newpartner.

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

    Equipment and space. There is no additional cost unless schedules overlapsignificantly.

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

  1. Find a partner. A partner can be someone in the organization or outside.Preferably, it is someone you have worked cooperatively with before. Considerbackgrounds, which can be similar or complementary. Consider compatibility,e.g., like and respect for each other, the other person’s flexibility, abilityto communicate openly and easily, similarity of work styles and the ability towork 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 orseveral potential job classes of interest. Make initial contact with the agencyor manager.
  3. Develop a plan. Consider all the aspects and potential issues of jobsharing for the work unit. Create a work plan that outlines the specifics of thearrangement 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 themanager in person to discuss it. Reach an understanding and document thespecifics of the arrangement. Be prepared to discuss the details of the plan.Remain flexible. Discuss concerns and jointly resolve any differences. Rememberthat job sharing is a privilege, not a right, and may need to be modified forbusiness reasons.

Hint: Try a pilot or trial run and address issues as the come up. Expect someadjustments 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 andresponsibilities (e.g., PDQ) for the two positions.

How will your proposed job sharing sustain or enhance your performance andthat 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 thatyour arrangement might require. Detail any short- or long-term cost savings thatmight result from your job share.

1. What communication methods do you propose for you and your partner and youand 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 constructivemonitoring and improvement of your job share? Are there measurable outcomes touse in the review process?

II. (Manager completes this section.)

Request for job sharing is____ approved or _____declined. If declined, pleasedescribe 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 humanresources office for the official personnel file.

From “Alternative Work Schedules,” May 2002, reprinted with permission ofHR Center Series, published by the International Personnel ManagementAssociation, 1617 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 2