What Is Job Sharing? (Plus How It Works, Benefits, and Tips)

Updated November 30, 2022

Job sharing is beneficial for employees who want to share their responsibilities with others or work part-time. These work arrangements are flexible and ideal for people experiencing situations that affect their availability, such as increased family responsibilities or partial retirement. Understanding how this arrangement works can help you decide if job sharing suits your employment needs and goals. In this article, we answer the question "What is job sharing?", discuss how it works, identify the criteria for its implementation, highlight its benefits, and provide tips for effective implementation.

What is job sharing?

Job sharing is a working arrangement that allows two people to work in the same position on a reduced or part-time schedule while sharing the responsibilities that full-time workers fulfill on their own. It is an adjustment program that helps businesses avoid layoffs when they experience challenges in their business because of circumstances beyond their control. Rather than dismiss some employees, they can share workplace responsibilities with others and remain employed.

Work sharing provides income assistance to workers eligible for employment insurance benefits. These individuals work reduced hours while they or their employer recovers. While the employer's expectations remain the same, job-sharing arrangements allow workers and businesses to divide the schedule requirements and responsibilities of a full-time employee between two people.

How job sharing works

Job sharing is a three-party arrangement between the employees, employers, and Service Canada. Here's how it works:

Determining the work schedule

Creating a comfortable work schedule for parties to the job-sharing arrangement is the first consideration. To achieve this, consider the need of the company and the requirements of the position. For instance, a remote position can offer employees more flexible shifts than roles requiring physical presence. Here are structures to consider when determining the work schedule of job share partners:

  • Each partner works the same shift: In this arrangement, the partners work on the same days and hours of the week. The same-shift arrangement is ideal for employers who can divide the position's duties between two people, don't need employees to cover a position at different times, and don't require each partner to work extra hours.

  • Both partners work a split day: In this schedule, both partners work on the same days of the week but during different hours. The split-day arrangement is ideal for employers who need employees to cover an eight-hour position or employees who prefer working opposite schedules.

  • Partners work a split week: In this arrangement, partners work for similar hours on different days of the week. The split-week structure works best for employees who only need to work for a few days but can work a complete shift on those days.

  • Combination structure: These job share arrangements combine different work structures to create a customized schedule for each partner. For instance, job share partners can combine the same shift arrangement with the split day arrangement, where they adopt an arrangement early in the week and use the other arrangement later in the week.

Read more: How Many Hours Is Part-Time Employment?

Sharing duties and responsibilities

Sharing existing duties between the employee is the next step in a job-sharing arrangement. Typically, the efficient division of responsibilities and duties of a full-time employee between job-share partners requires consideration of the skills of each partner and the needs of the business. Sometimes, employers allow the job share partners to divide the duties and responsibilities.

Here are options to consider when dividing duties between partners in a job-sharing arrangement:

The twin model

In this model, both partners perform the same duties and responsibilities. The twin model requires both partners to work as a team and complete assignments per the deadline. This model is an excellent tool for maximizing productivity and ensuring efficiency because it combines both partners' strengths in a team.

The islands model

The islands model requires each job share partner to perform different tasks and responsibilities. In addition, this model emphasizes sharing responsibilities based on each partner's skill level and strengths. The islands model allows partners to complete tasks independently and specialize in particular areas to improve the overall quality of work.

Criteria for implementing job sharing

Some criteria for implementing job-sharing arrangements include:

  • Voluntary: The decision to implement job-sharing arrangements has to be voluntary and agreeable by both the company and employers. Where there's an employee union, representatives have to agree to implement the program.

  • Residency: Being a business in Canada all year round for a minimum of two years is vital to implementing job-sharing arrangements. Full-time, permanent employees are essential for the daily running of the business and are of great importance.

  • Status: Being a private, non-profit, or publicly held company is essential for businesses seeking to implement job-sharing arrangements.

  • Temporary downturn: Employers can implement work-sharing only when there's a temporary downturn in business productivity beyond the employer's control. Employers cannot use it to compensate for seasonal businesses or delay the inevitable downsizing of a business.

  • Duration: The maximum duration of a work-sharing arrangement is 38 weeks, except in particular circumstances.

  • Recovery plan: Implementing a recovery plan to return job share partners to regular working hours at the end of the arrangement is necessary.

Benefits of job sharing

Job sharing arrangements provide various benefits to the employers and employees participating in the program. Some benefits of job sharing include:

More flexible work schedules

Job sharing arrangements allow employees to choose their work hours and establish a flexible schedule. As job sharing involves dividing tasks between two people, you can choose to work when it's most convenient for you. Also, job sharing allows you to complete a task within less time as your job share partner covers other responsibilities you need to complete the tasks. This ensures you have the freedom to engage in other activities that benefits your personal and professional life.

Related: What Is a Flexible Schedule? (With Types and Benefits)

Healthier work-life balance

Working flexible hours with shared responsibilities makes it easier for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Job sharing arrangements give employees the time to attend to their work and home responsibilities and take part in other activities outside work. A healthy work-life balance also improves employees' disposition to their work and enables them to experience more job satisfaction.

Read more: A Helpful Guide To Having a Great Work-Life Balance

Retention of quality employees

The primary goal of job sharing is to help retain top talents. Typically, this arrangement allows employees to enjoy reduced work hours and responsibilities, which allows them to enjoy more comfort in the workplace. Usually, an environment that prioritizes the comfort of employees is likely to record reduced employee turnover rates. In addition, this system can also help to smoothen the transition of potential retirees effectively. For instance, by reducing an employee's workload as they approach retirement, they can use their experience to prepare recruits to take over the position under a job-sharing arrangement.

Related: 20 Strategies for Employee Retention in the Workplace

Increased productivity and efficiency

Dividing the responsibilities of a position between two people helps prevent fatigue and stress, which allows both partners to perform optimally. Typically, these arrangements improve quality control because each partner carefully performs their tasks and may assist each other in editing and correcting their work. Also, having a team of skilled employees with complementary strengths makes it easier to solve complex tasks or problems. All these can increase efficiency and improve efficiency in the workplace.

Related: What Is the Importance of Productivity in the Workplace?

Tips for implementing job sharing

Here are some tips to help you effectively implement job-sharing arrangements in your workplace:

Establish a healthy and positive relationship

Irrespective of the work schedule and the formula for sharing responsibilities, the collaboration of job share partners is vital to ensure success in their roles. Building positive relationships is essential to ensure the success of the arrangement. You can achieve this by combining your strengths, extending professional courtesy, celebrating accomplishments, and being constructive with criticisms.

Learn practical communication skills

Having effective communication skills is vital to implementing a job-sharing arrangement. Usually, partners identify the scope of their duties, and this requires effective communication from both parties. For instance, a party needs active listening skills to recognize what they need to do. Beyond this, partners need to communicate with clients, making excellent communication skills vital.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Understand your role and duties

Having a clear understanding of your duties and responsibilities can help you function better and ensure you provide the necessary support your job share partner needs. When sharing tasks, consider the strengths and weaknesses of you and your partner. This helps you understand how you can best complement each other to maximize productivity.

Related: Defining Roles and Responsibilities

Set clear rules

To ensure both partners contribute effectively to the arrangement, set clear rules that govern the agreement between the parties. This is important regarding the calculation of overtime and extra work hours. Also, clearly state the procedure for evaluation of performance to ensure that there's a likelihood of improvement within the team.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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