June 2016, many Muslims will be observing their holy month of Ramadan for 30 days. This festival includes several specific requirements which could have an impact on Muslim employees during the working day.
Here’s a quick guide to the elements of Ramadan and how you can support your Muslim employees during this time:
- Those observing Ramadan must fast between sunrise and sunset. Because we are in the summer months, sunrise usually takes place at approximately 4.40am. Sunset is at approximately 9.40pm. This represents a long day without food so employers should consider adding some flexibility into the working day, perhaps scheduling important meetings in the morning where energy levels are likely to be higher;
- Severely restricting intake of food is likely to have an impact on productivity levels. Be aware of this and be more lenient when it occurs;
- Because fasting starts at sunrise, the day is likely to start earlier than normal so that observers can have something to eat before they begin fasting. Consider temporarily amending working hours to start earlier and finish earlier than normal;
- Being around food may be difficult for observers so consider rescheduling working lunches or meetings on client premises, for example, where observers would be expected to eat. Alternatively, arrange for someone else who is not observing Ramadan to attend.
There is no specific legal requirement for employers to allow facility for religious observance but there is still a risk of discrimination if Muslim employees are treated less favourably because of Ramadan.
For further assistance please contact our 24 hour advice service on 0800 028 2420