Job Sharing - Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This document provides guidance for staff who wish to establish job sharing arrangements and for University supervisors who may receive job sharing requests and may wish to redesign jobs to suit job sharing.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017

Job sharing - part-time work arrangement in which one full-time job is divided between two or more people, each of whom works an agreed portion of the job and shares responsibility for the total workload.

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

These guidelines apply to staff who are employed in continuing, continuing (contingent funded) or fixed-term positions.

4. Guidelines Statement

Job sharing arrangements should be mutually beneficial to staff and the University, particularly in high activity offices and enable an area to be staffed for a greater span of time, e.g., reception areas. The University does not aim to introduce job sharing at the expense of full-time jobs.

Job sharing is most successful when instigated by staff themselves, who organise it to fit in with their own needs. Heads of organisational units should satisfy themselves that staff selected for job sharing can work effectively together without detriment to other jobs, staff or students/clients. The classification level of the position should not be an obstacle to job sharing opportunities.

The University promotes the principles of equal opportunity and acts in accordance with applicable anti-discrimination laws in operation within the state of Queensland and the Commonwealth of Australia.

5. Opportunities, Benefits and Potential Disadvantages of Job Sharing

When considering job sharing opportunities, staff, supervisors and Heads of organisational units should consider the following opportunities:

  • permanent part-time employment for staff who wish to engage only in that form of employment
  • for staff to return to employment after extended periods of absence
  • for staff nearing retirement age who wish to gradually reduce their work hours
  • for staff to study at a faster rate.

Benefits for the University include:

  • greater flexibility including a wider span of working hours, e.g., where an office needs to be staffed from 8am to 6pm and at lunchtime
  • higher productivity with more highly motivated staff and a reduction in absenteeism
  • greater involvement of staff in activities through increased co-operation and collaboration
  • recruitment from a wider employment pool
  • greater scope for retaining highly valued staff who might otherwise leave.

Potential disadvantages include:

  • potential loss of continuity in the position and dislocation/disruption caused by absence of the person working on a matter which needs to be completed that day
  • communication between the job sharing staff may not be effective, which might result in duplication of work or decisions being reversed
  • career disadvantages if a staff member is locked into part-time employment
  • additional training costs and slightly more involved supervisory roles.

6. Establishing a Job Sharing Arrangement

When taking action to fill a vacant position or to consider an application by a staff member for job sharing, the Head of organisational unit should review the position and, if there is agreement to job sharing, approve to fill the position on a shared basis in accordance with established procedures.

6.1 Items to consider

  • the advantages and disadvantages to the organisational unit
  • some jobs may not be suitable for sharing
  • impact of job sharing on future staffing flexibility (e.g., if the position is no longer required it may be more difficult to place two part-time staff in alternative positions; if one party leaves, it may be more difficult to appoint a replacement on a part-time basis);
  • identification of proposed period for which job sharing will be approved, i.e., whether the arrangement is to be permanent or for a defined, limited term
  • informing staff of the possibilities of job sharing
  • clear definition of the components of the job, which may necessitate job redesign
  • clear definition of acceptable working hours
  • informing other staff of the work arrangements relating to the job sharing position
  • means of ensuring appropriate communication between job sharers and other staff
  • means of providing training/staff development for job sharers, similar to arrangements for other staff.

6.2 Formalisation of job sharing arrangements

Each staff member employed in a job sharing arrangement will be appointed under separate employment contracts. The terms of the job sharing arrangement, including the duration of the arrangement, work patterns, and the fraction of appointment will be included in the contract of employment and any variation thereof.

Any proposal to disestablish a continuing part-time position which forms part of a job sharing arrangement will occur in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.

6.3 Working hours

The hours of work and standard spread of hours should be agreed for each staff member before entering into the job share arrangement and specified in the contract of employment.

If for some reason agreement on hours to be worked cannot be reached suitable to the organisational unit, then the Head of the organisational unit may prescribe the hours required for the position in accordance with the Hours of Work, Overtime and Staff Attendance (Professional Staff) Policy.

Changes to the standard spread of hours, maximum hours per work cycle and maximum number of hours worked per day during the operation of the job sharing arrangement must occur in accordance with the provisions contained in the Enterprise Agreement. Any change proposed by a job sharer must meet the needs of the University and be agreed to by each job sharer and the Authorised Officer for appointment.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury
Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury