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How to support employees during Ramadan

AuthorsHeena Kapadi

3 min read


How to support employees during Ramadan

For millions of Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan started on 10 March.

Here, employment Solicitor Heena Kapadi outlines practical ways that employers can support employees during Ramadan.


What is Ramadan? 

During Ramadan, Muslims will fast for 29 to 30 days from before sunrise until sunset — abstaining from food and drink during these hours. In the United Kingdom, the first fast began at around 04:45 and lasted until around 18:10. Before the fast, Muslims wake to consume their morning meal known as ‘Suhoor’ and open their fast with an evening meal known as ‘Iftar’. As each day passes, these times will vary by two to three minutes and by an additional hour when the clocks go forward on 31 March — the final fast is expected to last between 04:30 and 20:05.

The end of the month is marked with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr which is expected to take place on 10 April.


Why is Ramadan so important to Muslims?

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and Muslims are obligated to fast throughout the month. There are, however, certain individuals who are exempt from fasting — these include children (although some choose to do so), breastfeeding or menstruating women, individuals with medical conditions, the elderly and travellers (subject to certain conditions). It shouldn’t be assumed that all Muslim employees will be fasting.

Ramadan also marks the month that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. It’s a time of reflection with a greater focus on doing acts of goodness, giving to charity, reading the Quran and engaging in prayer. As well as the usual five daily prayers, additional prayer may be carried out during unconventional hours such as late in the night or in the early hours of the morning.

The last ten days of Ramadan are particularly important with many Muslims choosing to take some or all of this period as annual leave.


Practical ways to support employees during Ramadan

The energy levels, concentration, irritability and productivity of those observing Ramadan are likely to be affected. Employers should be aware of this from both a performance and health and safety perspective as criticising the productivity or performance of employees who choose to observe Ramadan could be discriminatory on the grounds of religion or belief.

Employers should take active steps to support their employees during this very spiritually important time.

Practical considerations include:

Employers should also think about how they can personally acknowledge the significance of Ramadan, whether that’s by actively engaging with their employees to find out more about their experiences or communicating with their entire workforce to raise awareness and promote understanding. This will contribute to an inclusive workplace allowing employees to feel supported and accepted.

While not mandatory, it‘s sensible for employees to inform their employer of the fact that they’re fasting or observing Ramadan in other ways so that many of the above steps can be taken.


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Our employment, immigration and pension law team is experienced in advising employers on the legal protections for employee religions and beliefs and making recommendations on how to create inclusive workplaces.

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