Job sharing is a way of working where two people share the responsibilities of one full-time position and divide the hours, salary and benefits.
It should not be confused with general part-time working. If the job share arrangements for a post end, it should be possible for the post to revert to a single, full-time position.
The most common ways to split up a position are:
split week - each job sharer works 2 full days and one half day
split day - one partner works mornings and the other works afternoons
two days one week and three days the next - the sharers alternating to cover the week
alternate weeks - one sharer works one whole week whilst the other works the next week.
Each partner in a job share must hold an individual contract of employment. The post holder's title in a job share should be the same as the established post but with the endorsement 'job share'.
Where a full-time teacher transfers to job sharing, the existing contract should be terminated and replaced by a permanent job-share contract. All terms and conditions of employment for full-timers should be applied to job-sharers on a pro rata basis.
Each job sharer should receive the appropriate proportion of full-time salary for the post. Where incremental salary scales apply, it is possible for job share partners to be on different incremental points according to qualifications and experience.
It should also be possible for a partner to be paid on an individual basis: for example, where a teacher was being paid a protected salary before the change to job sharing, this may continue.
Job sharing, for pension purposes, is regarded as part-time employment. For details about joining pensions schemes and retirement, see the website section on pensions.
You may also find one of the following ATL pension factsheets useful:
Alternatively, contact ATL's pension advisers.
Some job sharers may welcome the opportunity to cover during the absence of their partners. However, they are not obliged to do so.
If the absence is prolonged, then it would be appropriate for the partner who has agreed to cover to be paid at the job-sharing rate. Where the partner is unable to cover the hours, the normal arrangement for recruiting temporary part-time staff should apply.
Job security and redundancy
Formerly, an employee acquired the right to bring a claim of unfair dismissal upon completion of one year's continuous service in an educational establishment, irrespective of the number of hours worked. This has now been increased to two years for anyone whose job started on or after 6 April 2012. Job-share partners qualify for employment rights on exactly the same basis as their full-time colleagues.
As statutory redundancy payments are based on the weekly salary and years of service at the date of termination of employment, an employee who is made redundant after moving from a full-time post to a job share would receive a lower redundancy payment.
For further advice on redundancy, please see ATL's publication Redundancy.
What happens when one job sharer leaves?
ATL believes that all employers should have a clear procedure which is followed when a job sharer leaves. Only accept schemes which make provision for:
the full-time post to be offered to the remaining job-share partner, providing there are not particular circumstances which would make this inappropriate
the vacant job-share post to be advertised, and for recruitment and selection to be undertaken as for any other post.
Schemes which do not offer the first option - in effect, the post has to be filled permanently on a job-share basis - oblige job sharers who subsequently wish to work full time to resign their job share and apply for a new full-time post.
ATL maintains that job sharers should have the opportunity to return to full-time teaching from the job-sharing post.
Changing to job shares for childcare reasons
Increasing numbers of women in full-time employment have expressed the desire to job share following their return from maternity leave.
They have the right to return to work in the same job on the same terms and conditions. There is no legal right to return to work on a job-share basis following maternity leave.
However, ATL believes that most full-time posts in schools/colleges can be job shared and employment tribunals and courts will not readily accept employers' reasons for refusing job-share requests.
A refusal by an employer to permit job sharing in these circumstances may be challenged as sex discrimination.
Need further advice?
Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.