Job sharing is a way of promoting equality in the workplace by making otherwise full-time posts available to those who cannot work full-time for any reason.

 According to information on the HR Directorate intranet (https://portal.shu.ac.uk/departments/HRD/polproc/jobshare/Pages/home.aspx), “The University actively supports job sharing where it is reasonable and practical to do so and where operational needs will not be adversely affected.”    Furthermore, the guidance on recruiting to posts considered unsuitable for job sharing states that “All posts are considered eligible for job sharing unless a manager can demonstrate that job sharing of a specific post is unsuitable on the grounds of operational requirements.” (https://portal.shu.ac.uk/departments/HRD/polproc/jobshare/Pages/unsuitableforjobshare.aspx).   Managers have to submit a business case if they think that a post should be exempt for being available on a job share basis.

UNISON is keen to ensure that as many vacancies as possible are considered suitable for job share and are advertised on that basis.   However, casework and feedback from members told us that there are concerns that job share opportunities are drying up in some areas.  There is a perception that managers are becoming less willing to offer posts on a job share basis, and that the bar for exempting posts is set too low.   Is this true, and if so what has changed (we are not aware of any University policy change)?

 The Branch wanted to investigate the situation, and so a couple of activists – Phil Henshaw and Tracey Holland – volunteered to collect statistics on current vacancies.  It turned out that between October 2015 and January 2016, there were 15 administrative-type vacancies at grades 5 and 6 that were classified as unsuitable for job sharing: this seems a very high number.   A number of these were short-term contracts, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a reason for ruling out a job share arrangement.   

We are keen to explore this issue further and to take up members’ concerns with management.   We are interested to hear about your job-share experiences (good or bad) – so get in touch!”