Special Job-sharing regulation - a Promoter of Flexible Working?

Author:Agne Kalson

The need for additional flexibility and the search for ‘tailor-made’ employment relationships have given rise to new forms of employment all over Europe. Discussions on national level are held about whether and how to integrate emerging new forms of employment into national labour law. Some European Union countries where the new forms of employment have emerged in a larger extent or been evident... (see full summary)

Agne Kalson
Doctoral student
University of Tartu
Special Job-sharing
Regulation – a Promoter
of Flexible Working?
1. Introduction
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 rst in the United States
of America (USA) in the ’60s and was characterised mainly through 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 rst professional positions to be shared thus, lled largely by women
wishing to combine a career and family life.*3
Bene ts o 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 ( 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/ les/ef_pub-
lication/ eld_ef_document/efen.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/ 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//
pearsa.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. .

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