Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
HR Services - Human Resources
Date Approved
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Job Sharing

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

Job sharing is a flexible work practice and a form of part-time work where one position is shared between two or more employees. The Fair Work Act 2009 provides some employees with a legal right to request flexible working arrangements that may only be refused on reasonable business grounds.

This policy defines job-share work arrangements to perform University work, setting out entitlements, eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply and supports work-life balance and employee wellbeing.


"Agreement" means an enterprise agreement negotiated between the University, employees and relevant unions.

"Delegated Authority" means a position granted authority to act on behalf of the Vice Chancellor with varied levels of authority in line with the University's policy on delegations.

"Employee" means a person employed by the University.

"FTE" means full-time equivalent, e.g., an FTE of 1.0 means an employee is equivalent to full-time, while an FTE of 0.5 means the employee works half-time.

"Job sharing" is a voluntary arrangement which involves sharing or dividing the duties and responsibilities of a (full-time or part-time) position among two or more employees usually of the same level but not necessarily the same salary increment nor equal FTE.

"University" means The University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

1 Overview

Job sharing is a form of part-time work where a single position is shared between two or more people.

1.1 Job sharing is a voluntary arrangement which shares or divides the duties and responsibilities of a (full-time or part-time) position among two or more employees, usually of the same level but not necessarily the same salary increment or FTE.

1.2 Jobs can be shared:

  • between two or more workers where each is responsible for their own work;
  • along task or client lines with primary responsibilities being with individual job-sharers; or
  • between two or more workers with shared responsibility for the total job.

1.3 Employees sharing a job can work alternative days or weeks, on the same days or weeks, or rotational days or other arrangements that suit the operational requirements of the area.

1.4 Each job-sharer is considered an individual employee for the purposes of performance and development, accruing and taking leave, promotion or any other condition of employment.

2 Requests for exemptions from job sharing arrangements

2.1 All full-time and part-time appointments, including supervisory positions, are potentially open to job sharing arrangements, unless an exemption has been received from the Director, Human Resources. Reasons for exemptions include, but are not limited to:

  • the incapacity of a job-share arrangement to be supervised;
  • limitations of the physical equipment or location of the position;
  • the expense of implementing the arrangements;
  • a significant loss in efficiency or productivity;
  • significant negative impact on customer service;
  • no capacity, or it is impractical, to change the working arrangements of other employees, or recruit new employees; or
  • other reasonable business grounds.

Procedure - Requests for roles to be exempted from job-sharing arrangements

A supervisor, manager or head can request the Director, Human Resources (DHR) to exempt a position from being offered on a job sharing basis by providing to the DHR, the following information:

- how the change would affect the workplace's finances, efficiency, productivity and customer service;

- how easy it is for current employees to cover work;

- how easy it is to find someone else to do the work; and

- the arrangements needed to accommodate the employee's request.

Other employees are also a consideration for example:

- When there isn't any capacity to change the work arrangements of other employees affected; or

- It would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other employees, or recruit new employees.

Further information can be obtained from the Fair Work website - Flexible Work Arrangements: Accepting or Refusing a Request.

The Fair Work Ombudsmen provides the following examples of reasonable business grounds to not offer new working arrangements to accommodate job sharing:

- the arrangements are too expensive for the employer to implement; or

- would result in a significant loss in efficiency or productivity; or

- would have a significant negative impact on customer service.

3 Requests for job sharing

3.1 Any employee may request a change in working arrangements, if:

  • for an employee other than a casual employee, the employee has completed at least 12 months of continuous service with the employer immediately before making the request; or
  • the employee was a long term casual employee immediately before making the request; and has a reasonable expectation of continuing employment by the employer on a regular and systematic basis.

3.2 The request must:

  • be in writing on the appropriate form.
  • set out details of the change sought and reasons for the change.

Procedure - Requests for job-share arrangements

Step 1

Be clear about what your needs are. Try to let your supervisor know about your changed circumstances as early as possible.

Step 2

Find out about your entitlements and what options are available in your area. You can:

- talk to your manager or Human Resources;

- review the Human Resources website and policies;

- talk to others who have made changes in their work arrangements;

- confirm the likely impact of changes on your superannuation and long service leave entitlements, if relevant.

Step 3

Put your request in writing by completing the appropriate form.

Step 4 The employee should consider:

- how different arrangements will suit the job and the employee's working style;

- impact on colleagues and clients; and

- highlight the benefits that can be derived from this arrangement for the individual and the work area;

The manager in consultation with the employee should discuss:

- hours; responsibilities; conditions and entitlements;

- procedures in case of disagreement;

- monitoring and performance evaluation arrangements;

- minimising any perceived negative impacts of the arrangements;

Agreed arrangements should be documented.

Step 5

Having agreed an arrangement to suit the work area and the employee, the manager will:

- work with HR to share the position description and number between two occupants;

- consider any review and support requirements that may be necessary;

- inform other employee and clients about the changes and be prepared to discuss their concerns.

3.3 Responding to the request

3.3.1 The employer must give the employee a written response to the request within 21 days of receiving the request, stating whether the employer grants or refuses the request.

3.3.2 The employer may refuse the request only on reasonable business grounds.

3.3.3 If the employer refuses the request, the written response must include details of the reasons for the refusal.

4 Recruitment and Appointment

4.1 The University encourages the inclusion of the possibility of job-share opportunities in recruitment materials.

4.2 At appointment, the job sharing ratio, and any other job sharing arrangements, are at the discretion of the University.

Procedure - Job sharing Ratios

The way in which the actual hours of a job-share post are divided between the job-share partners should be decided by the manager/supervisor and/or Head of Department in consultation with the job-share partners, taking into account the following:

- the needs of the role, School, Section and/or Department;

- any limitations on accommodation, equipment etc.;

- the desirability of building in a handover period or liaison time (the total hours worked by the job-share partners should not exceed the normal full-time hours of the post);

- communication: between the job-share partners, between the job-share partners and their manager(s), between the job-share partners and their colleagues and between the job-share partners and their students/clients/customers etc.;

- the need to ensure consistency of approach.

Advice and guidance is available from Human Resources.

4.3 Individual applicants who specify that they are applying for the position on a job-share arrangement, will be assessed according to their individual merit and the University's recruitment procedures. The availability of another job-sharer is not a consideration in the appointment process.

4.4 If an applicant is successful when applying on a job-share basis, the remaining share of the job (as determined by the University) should be offered to another suitable applicant, seeking a job-share arrangement, or readvertised as a part-time role and part of a job-share arrangement.

4.5 Where a joint application is received by two or more candidates seeking to job-share, the application will be assessed separately for each individual's suitability incorporating the principles of Achievement Relative to Opportunity. Appointment is on an individual basis, where one individual may be offered an appointment while the other is not successful.

5 Joint application for job-sharing a position

5.1 Two applicants may make a joint or linked application for a vacant position. Applicants will be considered as individuals, applying in partnership.

5.2 Appointment conditions will be discussed with applicants individually.

5.3 If both parties are appointed, the arrangements set out in this policy apply.

Procedure - Joint application for a job-shared position

Two applicants may make a joint or linked application for a vacant position. These applicants should be considered as a partnership. If, at the shortlisting stage, one half of a joint application is rejected, the successful half should be given the option of continuing to the interview stage or withdrawing their application.

Similarly, if one half of a joint application proves unsuccessful at the final selection stage, he/she should be rejected. The remaining partner should be offered the option of being considered either on a full-time basis or to work with another job-share partner.

In the event of only one job-share applicant being considered appropriate for the post the selection panel must decide whether a full-time appointment or a job-share arrangement would be most appropriate. If the best person for the job is the single job-sharer then the Department/School may need to advertise again for a job-share vacancy.

6 Written Agreement

6.1 A written agreement is required between the University and the job-share employee, setting out the details of the job-share arrangement.

6.2 A job sharing employee shall receive the same recruitment, appointment induction and employment conditions as other employees of the University working in similar roles.

Procedure Job-sharing agreements

Negotiate agreement with delegated authority.

- Employee must sign the agreement.

- Delegated authority to approve agreement.

- Delegated authority to provide a copy of the approved agreement to the employee.

- Delegated authority to send copy of the approved agreement to HR Services for placement on employee's file.

Along with the usual contract of appointment a written agreement will specify the following:

- Job-share Arrangement: the status of responsibility (shared or divided), the allocation of duties (shared or divided) and the arrangement of working times.

- Position Description: a statement that makes clear the overall and broad objective of the role and whether it is an academic or professional appointment.

- Duties: the work and activities required to be carried out in the position.

- Level: in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement.

- Hours: the hours of work, flexible working arrangements and the process for payment of additional hours in accordance with the Agreement.

- Reporting Relationships: specifying the appropriate supervisor(s).

- The Responsibilities of the Position: for example managing a team, reporting to senior management and financial delegation.

- Process: including the arrangements and protocols for communication between the job-sharers, handover processes and voluntary arrangements that may be entered into for relieving due to illness or leave.

7 Performance and development

7.1 Performance Development Appraisal or any other assessment related to performance is undertaken separately for each job-sharer. For example, a member of the academic staff who is job sharing, is eligible to apply for promotion based on their own achievements, and according to the principles of Achievement Relative to Opportunity.

7.2 Unsatisfactory performance or misconduct by an individual will be managed in accordance with appropriate University policy or Agreement.

7.3 Development, promotion and remuneration is based on the development needs, performance and merit of each individual employee.

7.4 Job-sharers have access to development in accordance with the University's policies and commitment to development, appraisal and recognition.

8 Vacancies

8.1 Should the position be operating as a job-share arrangement and one of the incumbents leaves the position, the vacant position may be offered to the other job-sharer or sharers (where the skills to undertake the duties are available).

8.2 Where the other job-sharer/s chooses not to alter their contract of employment, the position should be advertised as a job-share position.

8.2.1 Where the vacant position is unable to be filled, alternative arrangements should be made to cover the remaining duties of the job.

8.2.2 Redeployment of the other job-sharer can only occur in accordance with the relevant Agreement and in consultation with Human Resources.

9 Terms and Conditions

9.1 Job-sharers are considered as separate employees and have separate contracts.

9.2 The undertaking of a job-share position does not alter the employee's accrued leave or any other entitlement. An employee's status should not be changed as a result of the implementation of a job-share arrangement in their current position.

9.3 Job-sharers are not under any requirement to meet the obligations of the other sharer's position, for example acting as leave relief. However, voluntary arrangements to do so can be agreed.

9.4 Each job-share position should be contracted as if on a part-time contract in accordance with the Agreement, whereby payment is on a pro-rata basis.

Related forms:

Application for job sharing

Job sharing - Refusal of Request Form

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Human Resources

Related Policies or legislation:

Academic Staff Agreement: Schedule C - Unsatisfactory Performance

Professional and General Staff Agreement: Schedule K - Unsatisfactory Performance

UP13/3 Achievement Relative to Opportunity

UWA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

Fair Work Act 2009

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