The government should incentivise job sharing by cutting employers’ national insurance contributions for employees in such roles, MPs and campaigners have urged.
An open letter to the government calls on ministers to help make job sharing “mainstream” by cutting their associated costs for employers.
It says that the current national insurance regime for job shares is “prohibitive” and prevents organisations from offering more job sharing opportunities.
Job sharing is a form of flexible working where one role is split between two people, giving each employee access to more opportunities for progression and networking than traditional part-time roles.
Gender equality campaign group Empower, which organised the letter, said that such roles were particularly beneficial for working parents or carers who were unable to commit to full-time work.
Some 123,000 people in the UK share a job, according to Empower, but demand for these roles is expected to rise post-Covid as more workers seek flexibility.
The letter – which has been signed by MPs including Caroline Nokes, Margaret Hodge and Caroline Lucas – says: “Globally, women’s job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic are 1.8 times greater than men’s. Working mothers were three times more likely than men to reduce their hours due to a lack of childcare during lockdown.
“Not all flexible working practices will support women in the workplace, promote a healthy work/life balance and close the gender pay gap gulf that has widened due to the pandemic. The solution is job sharing.
“Campaign group Empower believes it’s time to make job sharing a mainstream working practice for the good of working women, men, parents, carers and their employers. We agree. That’s why today we’re calling on the government to incentivise job sharing by introducing a reduction on employers’ national insurance contributions for employees in job shares.”
Empower chair Jacqui Smith said: “Job sharing is the solution to many of the issues working mothers face, enabling a work-life balance while retaining women in senior positions with equal access to career progression.
“The government must now facilitate job sharing to become a mainstream working practice by introducing cost incentives, considering the needs of working parents in their post-Covid recovery plan.”