How to handle holiday requests for staff celebrating Eid

  • Leave and Absence
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

View our How to handle holiday requests for staff celebrating Eid page. Contact us today for more information about our Employment Law, Health and Safety, and HR services.

Many Muslim workers across the country are currently observing Ramadan; a period of religious observance where Muslims observe a daily fast. Ramadan is scheduled to last until the next month begins, marked by the three-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Fast-Breaking.

Eid is a celebration to mark the end of fasting and is also a period of giving thanks, reflection, and recognising those who are less fortunate. The months of the Islamic calendar are based on the sightings of the moon meaning the exact date of Eid is not yet confirmed although and won’t be until the new moon is visible, with projections estimating this to be the 24th June. Eid is an important celebration for Muslims and it is likely employers will receive annual leave requests for those who wish to observe this festival.

Employers should deal with holiday requests through their normal procedures and any company policies. It is important to act reasonably and fairly, following the normal system to determine whether the request can be approved.

It may be the case that the holiday request cannot be accommodated because of the needs of the business. It may be necessary to refuse leave where, for example, the workplace will be understaffed or the request is during a period of high customer demand. The Working Time Regulations allow employers to refuse holiday requests by giving employees the required notice. The required notice is equal to the amount of leave requested so if an employee requests a week off the employer has to give a minimum of one weeks’ notice to refuse the request.

Due to the unconfirmed date of the festival, employers may find themselves receiving holiday requests on short notice. The law states that employees have to give a notice period of double the length of their holiday to their employer to request holiday i.e. six days’ notice for three days’ leave. Employers can also extend this notice period through their contractual holiday policy. Where the employee fails to give the required notice, the employer is not under an obligation to consider the request.

Employers should give full consideration to holiday requests that are for the purpose of observing Eid. If, after consideration, the request has to be refused because of genuine business grounds, employers should discuss this with the employee concerned and see if any alternatives can be accommodated. Applying a fair and consistent holiday request policy across the workforce will not constitute direct discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, however, it can be classed as indirect discrimination because the policy applies to all but puts those of the Muslim faith at a particular disadvantage. This makes it crucial that employers have a genuine, objective business reason for refusing in order to objectively justify any indirect discrimination complaints.


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • a jar of coins labelled holiday


    Rolled up holiday pay set to return: what exactly is it?

    Rolled up holiday pay has been unlawful since 2006 but is set to make a comeback. Those who begun their careers in HR or payroll before then will need to dust off the old guidance and re-familiarise.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Leave and Absence
  • Three office workers sat around a table.


    Should you hire someone who’s unfriendly in the interview?

    We often expect candidates to be smiley, friendly, and confident in their interview. But here’s why that’s not always the right way to think about it…

    Alan PriceChief Operations Officer
    • Recruitment
  • Two people at a desk reviewing financial documents


    The bank holiday rush: how to manage last minute leave requests

    If your staff are trying to maximise their time off around bank holidays, it could put you in a tricky spot. Read more to learn how to navigate clashing holiday requests.

    James PottsLegal Services Director
    • Leave and Absence
Back to resource hub

Try Peninsula for free today

See for yourself why Peninsula is the UK’s favourite HR and health & safety provider. Tap below to unlock free advice, policies, e-learning, and more.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.