JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL 26/2017
University of Tartu
Regulation – a Promoter
of Flexible Working?
Economic-demographic changes taking place in the European Union (EU) present a challenge to standard
full-time employment. With regard to contemporary employment relationships, standard full-time employ-
ment may not be enough to meet everybody’s needs in the labour market. Various needs have led to diverse
new ways to organise work, including working time, and these represent a growing trend in the EU. Since
2000, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) has
detected nine new forms of employment in the EU.*1 Job-sharing is one of the new forms of work listed in
the Eurofound report.
Job-sharing (working in pairs or work that involves ‘twinning’) was introduced ﬁ rst in the United States
of America (USA) in the ’60s and was characterised mainly through ﬂ exibility in the organisation of work-
ing time, with ‘two people sharing the same employment relationship corresponding to one full-time job’.*2
Teaching and nursing were among the ﬁ rst professional positions to be shared thus, ﬁ lled largely by women
wishing to combine a career and family life.*3
Beneﬁ ts oﬀ ered by job-sharing caused this alternative employment form to spread from the USA to
Europe. In Europe, the concept of job-sharing was introduced initially during reces sionary times in the
1980s and the early 1990s. In those times, Europe faced a tremendous increase in unemployment rates. As
a remedy, work-sharing was proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) Europe. The forms of work-sharing used thus far have been job-sharing (ﬁ lling a single work post
with more than one person) and ‘trading hours for jobs’ (reducing working time for workers under contract,
to create jobs).*4
Nowadays, job-sharing is distinguished from work-sharing in that the latter is a more generic concept
applied for any steps taken to redistribute work in order to reduce unemployment*5 and usually refers to an
Eurofound. New forms of employment, pp. –. Available at https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/ﬁ les/ef_pub-
lication/ﬁ eld_ef_document/efen.pdf (most recently accessed on ..).
S. Isola. Il contratto di job sharing [‘The job-sharing contract’], p. . Available at http://www.tosc.cgil.it/ftp/centrodocu-
mentazione/ﬁ les/tesi_isola.pdf (most recently accessed on ..) (in Italian).
K. Marshall. Job sharing, p. . Available at http://ivt.crepuq.qc.ca/popactive/documentation_A//
pearsa.pdf (most recently accessed on ..).
T. Miyakoshi. The e cacy of job-sharing policy. – Applied Economics Letters () / , pp. –. – DOI: http://
J.G. Pesek, C. McGee. An analysis of job sharing, full-time and part-time work arrangements: One hospital’s experience. –
American Business Review () / , pp. –.