Every year billions of Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles so the exact date for Ramadan changes each year.
Ramadan is a period for deep spiritual reflection, prayer, and self – restraint bringing Muslims closer to Allah. Many Muslims will be fasting from food and water during daylight hours, for the month.
Most people who are fasting usually still attend work so here are a few ways to support your employees.
How can you help as an employer?
First, keeping an open line of communication is paramount so talk to your team and if they are observing Ramadan ask how you can best support them.
Fasting can be physically and mentally challenging so, if possible, offer flexible working or the option to work from home more often.
Although there is currently no legal right to request flexible working arrangements before having 26 weeks’ service, (the government has proposed that this should be a day one right), it’s important to be aware that religion is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Employees should not be treated less favourably because they are fasting, for religious reasons.
It may also be a benefit to offer longer or more frequent breaks. The Working Time Regulations 1998 states that workers are legally entitled to a 20-minute break every six hours as a minimum. This will also help with the more stringent prayer times during Ramadan.
Be mindful of hosting and inviting employees who are fasting to events such as working lunches or coffee catchups. Don’t assume that someone who is fasting doesn’t want to attend these types of meetings but of course, do not expect your employees to attend a food-originated event if it isn’t a necessity.
By doing so, you not only show your support for your Muslim employees but also create a positive and inclusive workplace culture for all. Remember, small gestures can go a long way in making a meaningful difference.