The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Ramadan in the Workplace – Tips for Employers

Ramadan in the Workplace – Tips for Employers
08 April 2021
 

Monday 12 April signifies the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims often commit to a period of fasting during daylight hours.

The Muslim Council of Britain has released guidance for #SafeRamadan, to help mosque leaders and organisers to keep communities as safe as possible in light of continued lockdown conditions.

Considering this, here are some employer top tips for supporting staff during this time from Andrew Willis, Head of Legal at employment law and HR consultancy, Croner.

 

Flexible Working and Working From Home

 

Given the physical demands of daytime fasting, staff may require some adjustments to their working routine during Ramadan, even if they are working from home. This could include altering shift patterns, allowing staff to start and finish earlier in the day to aid with daytime fasting, or amending workplace duties to reduce the chance of fatigue impacting performance or increasing the risk of injury. 

It is important to remember that the requirements may affect each person differently, and organisations should refrain from taking a "one size fits all" approach to flexible working arrangements. Arguably, it is more important than ever that organisations take steps to accommodate their employees' personal circumstances.

 

ramadan covid

Picture: a graphic from The Muslim Council of Britain stating social distancing measures inside mosques. Image Credit: The Muslim Council of Britain

 

Annual Leave and Rest Breaks 

 

Consider that some individuals may wish to use their annual leave entitlement during Ramadan to allow them sufficient opportunity to rest during times of fasting or to participate in the Eid celebrations that follow. They may also ask for increased rest breaks or to change the time of these breaks. While it will be fair to expect staff to request time off in the usual way and provide sufficient notice, it may be wise to make an exception where possible to avoid discrimination, such as where requests occur on short notice or clash with other team members.

It may be difficult for an organisation to accommodate annual leave requests as a result of the coronavirus. However, given the importance of this to those who celebrate it, it is important to be as accommodating as possible. 

 

Harassment and Respect 

 

Unfortunately, it can be the case that Muslim employees are at an increased risk of suffering religious harassment at work during Ramadan, either at the hands of third parties or their colleagues. Other staff may have the misconception that Muslim employees are receiving "special privileges", especially if they are given time off or increased flexibility during the outbreak. Organisations should work to dispel any notion of this. Also, make sure to remind staff that appropriate action will be taken against anyone found responsible for offensive behaviour and that "workplace banter" will not be accepted as a legitimate excuse for discrimination.

Given the importance of Ramadan to Muslim employees, it would be advisable to outline the organisation's approach in a religious observance policy, giving individuals a clear source of information on their rights at work during this time. Having said this, any policy will need to be inclusive, giving equal footing to other religions, to avoid further claims of religious discrimination.

Picture: a photograph of a small candle inside a lantern which displays the Crescent and Star, a symbol of the faith of Islam

Article written by Andrew Willis | Published 08 April 2021

Share



Related Articles

Sodexo Re-Accredited as Disability Confident Leader

Sodexo has had its leader status in the UK Government's Disability Confident scheme re-accredited for a further three years. The Disability Confident scheme...

 Read Full Article
ACAS Shares Advice on Hybrid Working

ACAS has shared new advice for employers wanting to support hybrid working and execute it fairly. The pandemic has shown us that not everyone is treated...

 Read Full Article
Dyslexia – Creating a Workplace Where Everyone Can Succeed

Joe Marshall from the Confederation of British Industry discusses how diverse and inclusive workplaces can help people with dyslexia flourish at...

 Read Full Article
The UK’s Most LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employers – What Practical Steps Do They Take?

This Pride Month, we are looking at what practical tips businesses can learn from the best-performing organisations from the UK Workplace Equality...

 Read Full Article
Mitie One of UK’s Top Employers

For the third year running, Mitie has been named as a Top UK Employer. The certification from the Top Employer Institute recognises the FM and professional services...

 Read Full Article
Willmott Dixon HR Chief Awarded OBE

Willmott Dixon’s Chief People Officer Rick Lee has been recognised with an OBE for services to Business and Equality in the 2021 New Year Honours list. Lee has...

 Read Full Article
CIPD Predicts Key Future Trends for People Management

A report from the CIPD sets out the key trends that will have an impact on the future world of work, and how these will shape how we manage people in 2021 and...

 Read Full Article
UK Employers Need To Take Action In Response To Race Protests

Sandra Kerr CBE, Business in the Community Race Director, is calling on UK employers to take action on racism, not only when the issue reaches the media, but at all...

 Read Full Article
The Right to Disconnect at Work – Is it A Legal Matter?

A European Parliament majority has voted for a law that grants workers the right to digitally disconnect from work without facing negative repercussions. MEPs are...

 Read Full Article
Face Masks, Testing and Vaccines – Managing Workplace Conflict

Conflict between colleagues is a challenge all employers face, however COVID-19 has presented a new range of emotive topics that can cause conduct issues in the...

 Read Full Article