The beginning of Ramadan is an ideal time to remind employers and colleagues of the importance of supporting Muslim staff who are observing the religious month.
In 2023, Ramadan is due to begin either on the Thursday 23rd or Friday 24th March 2023 (depending on the moon sighting). Muslims will be fasting from sunrise to sunset with the first fast in the UK at 4.24am - 6.31pm and the last day at day 30 being at 4.17am - 8.22 pm.
During this time, many Muslims are faced with the challenges of balancing their religious commitments with work and home life. To be an inclusive employer, it is important that BCHG, Line Managers and colleagues accommodate employees who are observing Ramadan.
- BCHG already operates a Hybrid working model however where we can, we should offer additional flexible working/remote working to accommodate the needs of colleagues during Ramadan.
- Be mindful that a member within your team may be getting up earlier than usual and then sleeping late and this goes on for 30 days. This can cause fatigue and at times dips in concentration. The offer to adjust their work schedules should they want it, will go a long a way. Please note that this will be a temporary arrangement and it’s business as usual after the month has finished.
- Be aware that colleagues could be more tired than usual and so consider limiting the number of meetings held at the start or end of the day, so that everyone can be at their best.
- You may see an increase in requests for annual leave especially for the last 10 days of Ramadan where it gets much more intense and the hours longer. While there is no automatic right for time off for religious reasons, Line Managers should be sensitive to the employees who are observing religious events such as Ramadan.
- This also applies to the end of Ramadan, Eid, as it all depends on moon sighting. Eid is proposed to be held on Friday 21st April 23 and colleagues, may want to book or cancel leave on that day-last minute.
- To reduce any risk to discrimination, Line Managers should be encouraged to take a consistent approach and any requests for time off where it is refused for legitimate business reasons, state the reason why.
- Be flexible with breaks (if working more than 6 hours) for example shortening it or taking it earlier or later in the day.
- Be patient and understanding and check on your colleagues to see if they are doing ok. Women may be exempt from fasting for various reason, i.e in early stages of pregnancy or time of the month. If you see any female eating, please do not ask.
- The same could be applied to anyone who has an illness and or is on, for example, diabetic medication. Again, best not to ask.
Finally, wishing any colleagues, who are observing, ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ (which means 'have a blessed month') means a lot coming from a colleague.