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Ramadan; Adjustments To The Employment Environment

Ramadan is around the corner, and given that around 4.2% of the county’s population will be fasting, I thought it would be useful to put together some facts for employers together with some guidance on making temporary adjustments to their policies to help staff observe Ramadan. 

Here are some facts about Islam and Ramadan: 

1. Fasting during Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, but it is not simply abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk

2. Fasting is seen as an annual spiritual training programme to strengthen the elements of self-confidence, self-control, tolerance and patience.

3. Breaking the fast in a non-emergency situation where a life or long-term health is not at risk however, is not acceptable and the person must fast for 60 consecutive days after Ramadan to compensate.

4. If a Muslim breaks their fast by accident; for example if water is accidentally ingested, the fast is not broken and he/she does not have to compensate for this missed day but should continue fasting.

5. Many Muslims adhere more strictly to their religious obligations, such as praying.  

Given the long hours that Muslims will be fasting this summer, managers and HR may find that some staff are ‘flagging’ so here are 6 suggestions that businesses should consider implementing during Ramadan: 

1. Increasing awareness and reviewing the workload of those who will be fasting; 

2. Being flexible with breaks i.e. if your policy is an hour for lunch allow those fasting to split that break up for the purposes of undertaking prayers and rest; 

3. Consider temporary flexible working arrangements especially for requests to observe Friday prayers (Jumu‘ah); 

4. Avoid timetabling events where alcohol will be consumed to ensure staff don’t feel left out; 

5. Where possible, create a temporary ‘prayer room’, this should be somewhere clean and quiet.  

6. Consider introducing a policy where food is stored in sealed container and shelves are separately designated ‘vegetarian’, ‘meat’ and pork’. Here at SCE Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience in assisting employers on all issues relating to complying with equality obligations.  If you would like to discuss any questions relating to Ramadan or any other employment law issue, please contact me on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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