We know that flexibility in employment is really important. We ask for it from our team members in the work that they do for Wholegrain and we are happy to return that flexibility on the occasions that employees need it from us too.

For some employees, flexible working can be a real game changer in reducing the pressures in their life, whether that be caused by their responsibilities, their health condition (either temporary or permanent) or just the desire to have a different work/life balance.

Whilst occasional flexibility does not require the formalisation of the arrangement and thus does not fall within the parameters of this policy; a frequent, regular, or more structured flexible working arrangement does. This is owing to the impact that such changes have on the terms within the employee’s contract of employment and thus the following procedure described in this policy applies.

This policy applies to all employees of Wholegrain.  It does not form part of your contract of employment and may be amended from time to time. Any, and all, personal data used in conjunction with this policy shall be collected, held, and processed in accordance with our ‘Data Protection Policy.’


Wholegrain will ensure that all employees are treated equally and fairly when requesting flexible working arrangements. This is regardless of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes skin colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation or any other non-relevant personal characteristic, their level of seniority, their current working pattern, or whether they are employed on a permanent or fixed-term basis. 

You may request a flexible working arrangement from the beginning of your employment; however, no one has the right to work flexibly.   There may be circumstances where Wholegrain is unable to accommodate the desired working pattern (for example, if there is a detrimental effect on an individual, the team, a client etc.) however, all possibilities will be explored with you and where possible, a solution that suits both you and Wholegrain will be identified.

You may submit multiple requests for a flexible working arrangement however, Wholegrain will normally only consider two requests in every 12-month period.

Flexible working arrangements may include (but are not limited to):

  • Reduced hours. For example, working less than a Wholegrain full-time working week with a corresponding adjustment in pay and benefits; 
  • Job sharing. For example, two people sharing the duties of a full-time position with a corresponding adjustment in pay and benefits for both employees; 
  • Variable hours. For example, varying the start and finish time of a standard day.

To request flexible working, please submit a written request to the Managing Director via your line manager. Your request should include the following information:

  • The pattern of working that you wish to be considered by the company (working hours, working days, timing of working hours, etc..);
  • When you would like the revised pattern of working to commence from;
  • If it is a temporary change, confirmation of how long you would like the revised pattern of working to exist for;
  • That your request is being made under the ‘Flexible Working Policy’;
  • If you have previously submitted a request for flexible working, confirmation of the dates and results of previous applications to work flexibly.

Once we have received your written request, we will hold a meeting with you (normally within 28 calendar days of receipt of your request) to discuss and determine if it can be accommodated.  If you would like to be accompanied by a colleague at this meeting then please feel to do so.  

After the meeting with you (and normally within 14 days of it), you will receive confirmation of whether or not your request can be accommodated.

If we can accommodate it, we may agree to accept the request for a trial period of up to 6 months with a review at 3 months, before we can confirm if it will be a permanent change to your contract of employment.  Alternatively we may confirm that we can accommodate it on a permanent basis from the off.  The details of what we can accommodate and on what terms will be confirmed in writing to you in addition to the temporary or permanent changes that it will have on your contract of employment.

If we are unable to accommodate your request, then we will discuss with you further the reason(s) for our decision which will include reference to a ‘permitted business reason’ of one or more of the below:

  • burden of additional costs; 
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
  • inability to reorganise work among existing staff;
  • inability to recruit additional staff;
  • detrimental impact on quality;
  • detrimental impact on performance;
  • insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work;• planned structural changes.

During this discussion, it may be that a change to your request can be accommodated on either a temporary or permanent basis.   Should this be the case, this will be confirmed in writing to you and on what terms, in addition to the impact of the change to your contract of employment.

If your flexible working request cannot be accommodated and you feel that it has not been properly considered then you may appeal against the outcome.  To do so, please submit your reasoning in writing to the Managing Director within 14 days of receiving the outcome.  Once received, a meeting will be arranged with you (normally within 14 days of receiving your appeal) and a Director or Senior Manager who was not involved in the original decision to decline your request.  They may decide to uphold the decision or accommodate some, or all of your request.  This decision will be given to you and confirmed in writing (normally within 14 days of the appeal meeting).  The appeal manager’s decision is final and there is no further right of review.

Obviously if you wish to retract a request for flexible working then this can be done at any stage during the above procedure. Just let us know in writing if this is the case. Retracted requests will not be considered as one of the two requests permitted in each 12-month period.

Changes to the Contract of Employment

If your flexible working request is accommodated and it is a permanent change, then your contract of employment will be amended to reflect the changes agreed and any impact on annual salary, annual leave/bank holiday entitlement, or other contractual entitlements will be confirmed to you. 

If you need to make a change within an existing flexible working arrangement and move to a different flexible working arrangement, then a revised request for flexible working should be submitted to the Managing Director for consideration in accordance with the above procedure.