If two people split one full-time position, how do job sharers split employee benefits such as health insurance and vacation time? It depends. Read on for options.
A job sharing set-up suggests a pro-ration of benefits, 50/50, or whatever schedule split is proposed. (There are several job sharing combinations to choose.)
But it really depends on the employer’s policy—if there is one. If your employer doesn’t have a job sharing policy, you’re in position to propose it the way you want it (to a degree).
Job Sharers: Focus on the High Value Employee Benefits
In my opinion, employer-sponsored medical insurance and retirement contributions (if offered) are where the real money value is, so concentrate your negotiations there.
Disability coverage, life insurance and paid time off have value, too. Prioritize them and assess what you can afford—and what you can afford to negotiate away for higher priority items. For example, an individual term life insurance can purchased for a reasonable amount on your own.
Some employers retain full-time employee benefits at a certain minimum hour level, for example, 32 or—more generous and unusual—24 hours a week. Research internal policies before outlining your proposal so you have the best personal plan. These planning steps are included in my Job Sharing Proposal Package.
If your prospective job sharing partner agrees to waive the health insurance benefits because of other coverage, e.g., under her spouse’s policy, then you can negotiate to retain the employer’s medical coverage.
Otherwise, for that, and for retirement benefits, vacations, sick days, etc., pro-rating is only fair to both individuals.
I’ve heard of one job sharing pair who handled the fairness issue this way: only one was allowed the employer-paid medical insurance, so that person paid for half the out-of-pocket insurance premium for the other person.
List and Prioritize Your Benefits
Work with your prospective job partner to prioritize the benefits, figure possible negotiating scenarios and outcomes with your employer, and devise some fair, mutually-agreeable solutions for each outcome.
Emphasize that any incremental costs are generally outweighed by the benefits of employee productivity, loyalty and retention. For an example in a job sharing success story I’ve highlighted, an enlightened employer provided full benefits for both job partners. Sweet.
Do your homework, and when you’re ready, plug the pieces into your Job Sharing Proposal Package.