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Job sharing in the Civil Service

Information about the Civil Service job share finder, and other resources for staff interested in working as a partner in a job share.

The Civil Service is committed to becoming the most inclusive employer in the UK. Flexible working has an important role to play. It is already a key part of our culture and, in its different forms, is widespread in the Civil Service.

The Civil Service job share finder is open to all civil servants only. You must have access to a Civil Service email address before you can create an account.

What is job sharing?

Job sharing is where two (or more) employees literally divide a job between them to cover one full-time role. Pay, benefits and leave entitlement for job sharing are allocated on a pro rata or proportional basis (divided approximately by hours worked) of the full time salary. Simply put, a job share is where two part-time workers do one job: this is different to two part-time workers doing a part-time job each. Both parties must commit to completing the whole job as a duo, not just completing their half of the job.

It is possible to share any job. It is usually done by dividing the total number of hours that need to be worked in a number of ways, and with both partners doing the same type of work (although not necessarily the same amount of work, depending on the number of hours worked by each job sharing partner). For example:

  • one partner works Mon to Wed and the other Wed to Friday
  • one partner works mornings and the other partner works afternoons each day,
  • they work alternate weeks

It doesn’t matter what their pattern is as long as it works for the job sharers and their line manager. Experience has shown that job sharers should always have an agreed overlap for handover, a key element when job-sharing One way to approach job sharing is to divide a role by identifying the different elements of the job and allocating separate duties to each individual e.g. by capability, activity and/or projects.

If you are considering a job share arrangement, it’s a good idea to meet with your potential partner beforehand to determine if the “chemistry” is there. You will be working closely with your partner and some form of mutual understanding may make both your lives more comfortable.

Why was job sharing developed

The service was originally commissioned to support gender diversity at a senior level, to act as a pipeline for senior civil servants (SCS) for G7/G6 and the SCS. There was also an emphasis on supporting female colleagues with childcare responsibilities by providing the means to find potential job share partners. Within the first year of operation it became apparent that men with childcare responsibilities also had a growing appetite for using the service. This original remit was later expanded to include people who:

  • care for older relatives
  • want to job share as part of a reasonable adjustment package (also known as a job carve)
  • are progressing to partial or phased retirement

Benefits of job sharing

There are many potential benefits to job sharing for both the Department and their employees:

  • offers “Work-Life” balance by providing a platform for those of you who wish to work flexibly a way to source job share partners and posts via CS Jobs
  • better quality of and/or increased job satisfaction due to the input of a wider range of skills, experience and creativity of two people rather than one
  • creating learning opportunities where partners have different strengths and work experience and they can support, coach and feedback to each other.
  • access to a wider range of roles for job sharers than simply working part time
  • no holiday gaps, as often the role is still delivered for some part of the week. This mean the role is covered all year round, projects are not put on hold or handed over to someone else to cover improving employees’ work-life balance and wellbeing
  • helping to attract and retain staff, particularly those with caring responsibilities or who have long term health issues but want to continue working
  • offers a way for people who are returning to work after a long absence such as maternity/paternity leave or career break, to re-enter the world of work by offering a working pattern more beneficial to them

Benefits for a line manager

The perceptive line manager recognises the many advantages to encouraging job sharing:

  • the world is changing and todays “normal” actively encourages flexible working and job sharing is the ideal choice
  • you can gain twice as many skills, knowledge, talent and experience from staff resource to apply to one role
  • often there is less managerial input as job sharers support, coach and feedback to each other, resolve challenges together and learn from one another
  • improved productivity by reduced strain of staff balancing work and personal responsibilities - quality control of outputs can be done by job sharers for each other, increased morale as there is greater control over personal and professional lives
  • provides continuous job coverage – when one person has a short term absence (e.g. sickness) or leaves the post to pursue other things quite often the other will step up until a suitable job share partner can be found
  • gives a way for the Civil Service to accommodate parents of young children, carers of adults, people with disabilities and older age workers the right to work flexibly as mandated in the Employee Rights Act 1996 Right to Request Flexible Working Amendment 2014

Job sharing is a key element in the Civil Service cross government flexible working network (CGFWN). The CGFWN blog shows how they support the development of a flexible working culture across government. Employees can make a request for flexible working under the statutory framework. Any agreed change will be a permanent change to their contractual terms and conditions but if everyone is agreed you can have an informal agreement or a temporary/trial period arrangement.

Refusing formal requests

If managers consider a new formal flexible working request unsuitable, or review an existing arrangement and decide it can no longer continue, it can only be refused for 1 of the business reasons set out in the ACAS Code of Practice as follows:

  • it imposes a cost burden for example a significant expenditure on IT or shift allowances
  • it is not possible to reorganise work between other staff for instance, the employee may have specific skills, or
  • there may not be the capacity on the team to absorb the extra work
  • it is not possible to recruit additional staff for example a recruitment freeze
  • it will affect delivery and quality
  • it will affect performance e.g. insufficient time to complete objectives or where health and safety obligations cannot be reasonably met
  • it will affect customer service, like the requested pattern does not fit with activity ‘peaks’
  • there is insufficient work when the employee wants to work
  • there is a planned structural change

If you have been refused the right to flexible working, in particular job sharing you should contact your HR Business Partner but also please let us know. We are keen to understand if this happening and if so how often and to whom, so email us at: enquiries.csjobsharefinder@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Job share blog

The Job share page has case studies showing the variety of job share partnerships as well as news and events from the Job Share Network. Take a look at our latest blogs:

Job sharing guidance

Published 17 March 2015
Last updated 20 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. CS Job Share Finder page refresh with additional information around why was job sharing developed, benefits of job sharing for civil servants and their line managers. Additional information for civil servants when their flexible working formal requests are refused.

  2. First published.