To help your co-workers during their long hours of fasting please read our Ramadan in the workplace guidance, for useful steps you can take to support your staff.
Ramadan in the Workplace
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is one of the 12 months in the Islamic calendar and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the mandatory acts that form the foundation of Muslim life. Muslims who observe Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset, a complete abstinence from food and drink. Although there are exemptions, such as those who have a long-term health condition, are not required to fast.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan falls at a different time each year because the Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, which means there isn’t a fixed date. This year Ramadan is expected to fall on May 5th or 6th and ends on June 4th or 5th, depending on the sighting of the moon.
What can I do to help my colleagues?
It is likely that the productivity of an employee who is fasting will be affected, particularly towards the latter part of the working day. Managers should be aware of this and not unduly penalise or criticise an employee whose productivity has suffered because he or she is fasting during a period of religious observance. Fasting may affect people in different ways and some understanding from managers and colleagues can be helpful.
- Annual leave requests
Employers may experience high demand for annual leave for a certain period from employees observing religious festivals. The end of Ramadan is marked by the Islamic holiday of Eid, which also signals an end to the fasting period. Eid is also subject to the sighting of the moon and the date is not fixed. Employers may, as a result, receive a large number of requests to take annual leave towards the end of Ramadan.
- Consider the effect of travel, training and conferences
Employers may find that some employees who are in a period of religious observance are reluctant to attend training events, conferences or offsite meetings. Managers should arrange to meet with the employee concerned to explore fully their reservations and determine if a compromise can be reached.
- Planning your meetings
The effects of fasting may be felt most strongly in the afternoon so it can help to use the morning for meetings and intellectually challenging work, and perform routine tasks later. Also, when Ramadan falls in the summer months it can be particularly challenging as the days are longer.
- Breaks and lunch
Although breaks should be kept, a shorter lunch may make it easier for an employee to finish a little earlier or use the ‘owed’ time to carry out prayers that fall within work time.
- Prayer times
Staff observing Ramadan will require a clean and quiet space to pray during the day. Although five daily prayers are mandatory for a Muslim, not all will be performed during working hours. It is advisable for both staff and managers to offer a degree of flexibility to fulfil prayer obligations, that do not impact on business requirements. A meeting room, that can be booked and is private, is normally sufficient to complete prayer obligations during the working day. Prayers can be offered individually by staff members, although small congregational prayers are preferred during Ramadan.
Further information on prayer times can be found here
Friday Prayer Info
Here are some facilities you could use:
Richmond Building, Students Union, Queens Road
Bristol Royal Infirmary, The Sanctuary, Level 4, King Edward Building
The Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, The Prayer Room, Level 4, near Ward 37