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What is job sharing?

Job sharing is a great way to manage your responsibilities outside of work, and maintain your work-life balance.

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Job sharing is a form of flexible working which enables two employees to share the responsibilities and duties of one full-time job. Pay, benefits and leave entitlement for job sharers are allocated on a pro-rata basis (divided approximately by hours worked).

It is normally possible to share any job. It is usually done by dividing the total number of hours that need to be worked in several ways, and with both partners doing the same type of work. 

Some examples are:

  • one partner could work Monday and Tuesday and the other Wednesday to Friday
  • one partner could work mornings and the other work afternoons, or they could work alternate weeks

Job sharing arrangements are different to job splitting. Job splitting is where a role is divided by identifying the different elements of the job and allocating separate duties to each individual, for example, by capability, activity or projects.

The important thing to consider is the amount of effort it takes to change from your current working pattern to become a job sharer, versus the amount of benefits that can be gained from becoming a job sharer. 

The main reason a person chooses to job share is that they reach a critical stage in their life. A change happens for them, such as becoming a parent or carer, a change in their health, or they begin to approach a pensionable age.

If you are a current civil servant and would like to reduce the number of hours you work in your current job, you can ask to do this through job sharing rather than other forms of flexible working. 

Your first step is to discuss this with your line manager. It is usually your responsibility to find a suitable job share partner, however your department should have ways to support you in this.

Once you have found a job share partner, your next step is to follow your departmental process for applications for flexible working.

Partnerships can end when one partner wants to change their working pattern or leaves the

job for any other reason. 

Your manager should clearly define and agree with both of you from the start, in writing, what procedure will be adopted if one job sharing partner leaves; particularly what will happen if a new partner cannot be found. 

Your managers should not put any pressure on you, as the remaining job sharing partner, to work more hours than you’re contracted to, whether temporarily or permanently and new arrangements should be considered.

New arrangements could include:

  • offering the job to you on a full-time basis
  • Providing support to you from other team members, whilst advertising the remaining part of the job as job share
  • offering the position as a job share to another member of the team as a development opportunity and/or temporary promotion.

If none of these arrangements work or are impractical to implement, your manager and HR Team will review the situation to help find a way forward.

Decorative image: Photo of Laura Rawstorne and Deonne Rowland, from the Department for Education. Both women have long dark hair and are looking at the camera.

“The job share definitely opened up the job market to us, meaning we were better able to go for promotion when the job we wanted came up (and get it!).”

Laura Rawstorne and Deonne Rowland

Department for Education

Flexible working policy

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home. Read more about the government’s Flexible Working policy.

Asking to work flexibly

Everyone working, or applying to work in the Civil Service, has the Right to Request Flexible working. Wherever possible, this will be considered for you.

Decorative image: Photo of Ruth Harriford and Charlotte Middleton. Both women are looking at the camera and are dressed casually.

“It’s felt more resilient to work in a job share. We always come up with better ideas together than separately. We both thought it would be more difficult sharing a leadership role than it is in reality.”

Charlotte Middleton and Ruth Harriford
Deputy Directors, Ministry of Justice

“I don’t think we really thought about what a great working life we would have at the start, or how job sharing would help our wellbeing and even our progression!”

Helen And Richard Dexeu Directors

Full-time job sharing – Helen and Richard’s story Job shares come in a variety of forms, as Helen Mills and Richard Ney from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) explain.