Various MPs and NGOs have called on the UK Government to make job sharing a mainstream working practice by introducing a National Insurance reduction for employees in these roles.

Writing a joint letter, MPs have asked the Government to introduce a reduction on employer’s National Insurance contributions for staff in job sharing roles.

This, they have argued, will incentivise employers to introduce job sharing roles by eliminating the associated cost that can be seen as prohibitive.

The letter also states that job sharing roles promote a healthy work-life balance, allowing one full-time role to be split between two employees throughout a week.

This has been viewed as particularly beneficial for those with childcare responsibilities – including working mothers of which a third have reduced their hours during the pandemic due to a lack of childcare.

However, the letter notes that an increased uptake in job sharing would also benefit men, parents, carers and their employers as it aligns with the level of workplace flexibility employees wish to see post-pandemic.

It has also been argued that this could help to narrow the gender pay gap.

At present, this form of flexible working has not been taken up readily by employees with only 123,000 people in the UK in job share roles.

Jacqui Smith, Chair of Empower, a gender equality group, said:

The pandemic has disproportionately affected women since it began and many mothers were faced with an increase in responsibilities outside of their fulltime employment. 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.