You may not be aware that, Ramadan this year began on 2nd April and ends on 1st May. Those who honor of the holy month, lasting 30 days, will be fasting and taking part in religious practices. Muslims who take part in Ramadan will fast from sunrise to sunset every day. This could be up to 17 hours with no food or drink. Although children, pregnant women and the elderly don’t have to fast, neither do people who are ill or who are travelling. Fasting is believed to help teach self-discipline and is a reminder of the suffering of the poor. Time may also be spent in prayer, engaging in charitable activities, and spending time with family and friends to celebrate.
How can you support your employees?
Whilst celebrating Ramadan, many working Muslims that are fasting still attending work. It is important that managers and line managers approach this in a sensitive manner. Employees may not want to share the fact they are fasting as they may feel uncomfortable talking about their religious beliefs. It is important to consider that not all employees may want to be treated differently just because they are celebrating Ramadan.
It is important as an employer to recognise religious holidays and to be aware of what they mean to your team, so you can be ready to accommodate them when they come around. A team brunch in the next few weeks might not be the best idea if you want to ensure inclusivity across your employees!
Educating all managers and line managers on Ramadan means they can take the right steps to support employees. Perhaps avoid putting additional burdens on employees who are fasting, for example asking them to work extra overtime; being considerate by not offering them food or drink; avoid scheduling important meetings, such as performance appraisals late in the day, as energy levels may being low.
If it is possible to, be flexible with working patterns. Employers should remember than an employee may be getting up before sunrise and staying up for evening prayers. This can factor into an employee feeling fatigue and having a drop in concentration. Be mindful of annual leave requests during this period too.
Religion and Belief falls under a protected characteristic within the Equality Act 2010. It important that you, as an employer, do not discriminate against anybody who is taking part in a religious holiday. This will help avoid the risk ending up in an employment tribunal and a getting yourself a reputation as a bad employer!