Job sharing: division, vacation and termination

What is job sharing?

Job sharing is a special form of part-time work in which two or more employees share working hours at one workplace. There are sub-cases of job sharing, depending on how the working time is divided and depending on the responsibility for completing the assigned tasks. For example, job pairing, in which a full job is divided up over time and there is shared responsibility for the work to be done. Or job splitting, in which several employees share a job, but are only responsible for the work that occurs during their time period.

What is the relationship between the job sharers?

The job sharers are employees who have no legal relationship whatsoever with one another. Up to now, their actual community has only been established by the employer. After the introduction of the »right to part-time work«, however, it is conceivable that several employees in a group may apply for a job as job sharers. Although job-sharers commit themselves to the employer to permanently fill a job, none of them have to perform the entire work performance. In legal terms, this means that you are not in a "joint and several debt relationship" with your boss. This also applies if one of them cannot do his or her job. Because job sharers are not "obliged to compensate" one another. In addition, job sharers are not obliged to perform their work afterwards.

Who determines the division of working hours?

Anders als in einem üblichen Arbeitsverhältnis bestimmt beim Job-Sharing nicht der Chef, wer wann seine Arbeitsleistung erbringt, sondern die Job-Sharer verteilen die Arbeitszeit grundsätzlich selbst untereinander. Insofern ist das Right of direction des Arbeitgebers bei dieser Stellengestaltung eingeschränkt.
An exception only applies if the job sharers cannot agree on the distribution of working hours. In this case, the boss can intervene and determine the working times of the individual job sharers.

Who will represent a fancy job sharer?

If a job sharer becomes ill or if he is absent for other reasons, the other "partners" in this position are generally not obliged to represent each other. Rather, the boss must expressly agree the representation with the "representative".

However, such an agreement is only permissible if the representation is necessary for operational reasons and is reasonable for the employee concerned. A substitute is not required if the employer can be expected to use a temporary worker for the failed employee instead of a job sharer. If the distribution of jobs is regulated in advance in a work plan, there are no problems whatsoever for a sick job sharer in terms of continued payment of wages, because the sickness-related absenteeism can then be read from the work plan.

The situation is different for work assignments agreed at short notice. Here one can fall back on the extent of the work performance in the three months before the illness in order to measure the absence from work.

How much vacation does a job sharer get?

A job sharer's vacation entitlement is based on the ratio of his or her work to full working hours. In this respect, the same principles apply as for part-time employees (part-time work).

What happens to the position if a job sharing partner quits?

Each job sharer usually has their own employment contract - exceptions are possible for job sharing groups or so-called in-house groups. That is why the individual's employment relationship remains unaffected if a job-sharing partner leaves. In particular, if an employee leaves the job-sharing relationship, the employer cannot terminate the other job-sharers.

As a rule, the employer will therefore try to fill the part-time position that has become vacant again as soon as possible. However, the employer is not prevented from giving the employee remaining in the job-sharing position a -> change notice.

Job sharing - important judgments

Inadmissible discrimination against women
If there is a regulation for a job-sharing position according to which a salary downgrade takes place when returning to a full-time position, then this violates European law. According to this, a pay system must be based on principles that exclude discrimination on the basis of gender.
Since in practice many more women than men are affected by such a regulation, a downgrade when resuming a full-time position would constitute indirect discrimination against women.
ECJ, June 17, 1998 - AZ: C - 243/95

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