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Flexible Work Arrangements - Job Share Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) This procedure outlines the process regarding a request for Job Share. It implements the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and should be read in conjunction with that Policy.

(2) The opportunity to undertake job share is not an automatic entitlement or right. It can only occur by agreement between the University and staff members concerned, with due consideration for business and operational requirements.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(3) Job sharing refers to an arrangement by which the duties and responsibilities, generally of one position, are voluntarily shared by two or more people, each working on a fractional basis.

(4) This procedure applies to all ongoing and fixed term staff. This does not preclude consideration of and granting requests from other employees, particularly when the request relates to parenting or carer responsibilities.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(5) Nil

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(6) Nil

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Section 5 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Managers / Supervisors Implement the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and the applicable procedure in the manner outlined.
Staff Comply with the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and applicable procedure.

Part B - General

(7) Job sharing allows a position to be shared by two or more people, each working on a fractional basis. A role may be job shared in many ways.

(8) All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Flexible Work Arrangement Policy and this procedure.

(9) While job sharing is not an automatic right, the University will not refuse any request that can be reasonably accommodated within operational requirements.

(10) Staff may request that a position become a job share arrangement on a fixed term basis. However, in the event that one job share partner ceases the arrangement and a suitable replacement cannot be found within a reasonable period of time, the other employee will assume the hours and duties of their job share partner.

(11) The nature of some work will be more suitable or appropriate to a job share arrangement than others. Generally, a job share arrangement will be more suitable where:

  1. the work requires a broad level of supervision;
  2. the role requires intermittent interaction with colleagues, students or other stakeholders;
  3. the work is project-based or the work outcomes are easily identifiable and measurable; and
  4. necessary arrangements can be made to ensure suitable knowledge share between job incumbents and confidentiality of information is maintained.

(12) A job share arrangement may be subject to a trial period during which time the suitability of the arrangement for a longer period may be assessed by the supervisor/manager, the job share incumbents and/or other stakeholders.

(13) University terms and conditions of employment, as outlined in any relevant industrial instrument and University policy, apply while a staff member is job sharing.

(14) Arrangements should be made to ensure an effective level of communication occurs between the incumbents.

(15) The nature and duration of the job share arrangement will be determined by the staff members involved and the supervisor/manager, and may include:

  1. Some overlap between the incumbents in order for the parties to meet to share information and plan.
  2. Splitting the job down the middle with the job sharers having equal responsibilities, performing similar tasks and, often, working the same number of hours.
  3. Dividing the tasks and roles between the incumbents with each having responsibility for distinct areas or portfolios.

Part C - Application process

Staff request

(16) An application for a job share arrangement must be made at least 4 weeks prior to the proposed start date or, in the case of an extension/renewal, at least 4 weeks prior to the expiration date.

(17) Where practicable, a request for a job share arrangement should be discussed verbally between the staff member and the relevant supervisor/manager in the first instance.

(18) A subsequent formal request must be made in writing (using the Employee Variation Request HR44) to the relevant supervisor/manager outlining:

  1. The reasons for the request.
  2. The relevant details of the proposed job share arrangement, including how the arrangement will work based on the requirements of the role(s) and position description;
  3. Proposed days, dates and hours of work, including how public holidays will be shared;
  4. Anticipated commencement date, review date and finish date (allowing sufficient time for the appointment of job share staff to be organised if required);
  5. A description of how the staff member(s) will maintain adequate and regular contact with their job share partner.

(19) The request should also outline any potential impacts that the staff member believes the arrangement may have on:

  1. The University, other staff and the organisational unit; and
  2. how any potential adverse effects may be mitigated/addressed.

Recruitment and Selection

(20) Where a request for consideration of job share is made by one or more job applicants during a recruitment and selection process, the Chair and Panel should seriously consider the possible arrangement. The exact same relevant factors and questions to be considered as part of the approval process are those listed above.

Consideration of a request

(21) Applications for a Job Share arrangement should be considered and determined by a delegated officer in accordance with the People and Culture Delegations Policy and must be made in accordance with the Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and this procedure.

(22) Supervisors/managers must seek advice from People and Culture when considering a request for a job share arrangement as the terms of the arrangement must be clearly set out in writing, signed by the parties and comply with the relevant enterprise agreement.

(23) The terms must include how the arrangement may come to an end and detail what will occur in the event that a job share partner cannot be replaced.

Declining a request

(24) Where a request cannot be granted, supervisors/managers should seek advice from People and Culture.

(25) The decision not to approve the request should be discussed verbally with the employee in the first instance. Wherever possible, alternatives should be considered before a final decision is made.

(26) The final decision must be communicated to the staff member in writing within 21 days of receiving the request. The decision must set out the reasonable business grounds upon which the decision was made.

(27) A copy of this documentation should also be placed on the employee's personnel file. All employment records should be retained in accordance with the University's Records Management Policy.

Approving a request - People and Culture processing

(28) The decision must be communicated to the employee in writing no later than 21 days following receipt of the application.

(29) Once a request for job share has been endorsed by the supervisor/manager the HR44 Employee Variation Request must be completed (along with relevant attachments) and submitted to People and Culture for processing. Such documentation will be kept on the staff member's Personnel File.

(30) Staff who are job sharing a position will be assigned to the same position number in the HR System. This is true even where the total FTE is greater than 1.0 due to an overlap for the purposes of communication and/or hand over between the job share incumbents.

Review of Job Share

(31) The job share arrangement may be reviewed and evaluated in accordance with the timeframe initially agreed or at any time, by the supervisor/manager and staff members, if relevant circumstances change.

(32) The agreement may be varied or replaced by another written agreement between the University and the staff members, giving reasonable notice to all stakeholders.

Notice of Termination of the Agreement

(33) Should the job share arrangement be terminated, whether by mutual agreement between the supervisor/manager and the staff member(s) involved or by direction by the supervisor/manager after consultation with the staff member(s), a relevant and suitable notice and transition period is required, which would normally not be less than 4 weeks.

(34) Where a supervisor/manager is proposing to terminate a job share arrangement, they must take advice from People and Culture beforehand.

Employment Conditions

(35) The staff member will be a part-time staff member with benefits accruing on that basis and superannuation contributions will commence on a pro-rata basis.

(36) One position description will apply to the job. However, incumbents' performance plans may differ, depending on the areas of specific responsibility in relation to the position.

(37) The performance of the incumbents will be reviewed separately in accordance with the Staff Performance and Development Planning policy.

(38) The combined workload and performance expectations should be similar to what would be expected if the job was being performed by one employee.

Substantive Position (For fixed-term Job Share Arrangements)

(39) A staff member employed on a continuing contract whose position becomes a job share for a fixed term will retain a continuing appointment with VU. A staff member employed on a continuing contract who is appointed to an advertised job share position may apply to take up the position on a secondment basis.

Duration of Arrangement

(40) Where a position becomes a job share for a fixed term period, at the end of the agreed period the position will return to the substantive time fraction unless agreement and approval has been given for an additional period.

(41) In some circumstances, a job share may be an on-going arrangement and no application for extension is necessary.

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(42) Flexible Work Arrangements Toolkit (located under ‘Flexible work and parental leave’).