Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar which is due to come to an end on the 21st of April. During Ramadan Muslims have been observing fasting and prayer, and at the end of Ramadan will celebrate with the festival known as Eid al Fitr.
Employers should be aware that employees who are of the Muslim faith fast during Ramadan meaning they are unable to eat or drink during daylight hours. They wake before sunrise to eat and only eat after the sun has set, during this period Muslims will also pray five times a day.
As the days grow longer so does the fasting period with the longest period being 12 hours, with the sun setting later this can mean that time for prayer can go later into the night meaning that those observing Ramadan can feel tired during working hours, this can have an impact on their performance at work.
As Eid al Fitr, can be confirmed at relatively short notice, it is important to bear this in mind, as the usual standard notice for requesting holiday may not be adhered to. Having a flexible and accommodating approach to allowing time off at short notice will mean that the employee feels supported.
It is important as employers to ensure that all employees religious beliefs and practices are taken into consideration in the workplace.
Ways in which you can support your staff are as follows;
- Keep an open-door policy with regards to discussion around an employee’s needs during periods of religious activity.
- Offer a quiet place for prayer.
- Look at break times, can you offer flexibility with more regular breaks (not below the Working regulations standard 20 minutes every 6 hours)
By ensuring that as an employer you are taking into consideration religious beliefs and practices you can help to reduce the risk of grievances or claims of discrimination (Equality Act 2010) against your organisation.
By being flexible and accommodating you are showing employees that you have supportive and inclusive culture, one that appreciates and values its staff.