Guidance for Employers during Ramadhan

02 May 2019

The month of Ramadhan is fast approaching and whilst Muslims are preparing for this holy month how prepared is your business both in terms of its understanding of what this month entails for your employees and what the impact of that will be upon your business.

The first question is what is Ramadhan?

Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Observing Ramadan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.

Muslims will fast each day from sunrise to sunset. This will include not eating food, drinking liquids including water or smoking. It is common to have one meal known as the suhoor just before sunrise and an evening meal known as Iftar after sunset.

Ramadan is a time of prayer and self-reflection where Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Ramadan is also a time for charity-giving, which can involve both making donations and participating in charitable events.

When is Ramadan?

The dates of Ramadan change each year and will commence on approximately Sunday 5th May 2019, although this can vary slightly depending upon regional customs and when the new moon is first sighted. Thereafter It will last for 29-30 days and ends with the celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr.

What you need to be aware of :

  • It would be helpful for you to be aware of who is fasting. Ask employees to let their managers know in case anyone passes out for example.
  • Fasting will affect people in different ways. Some employees may look more tired than normal or maybe more irritable during the day. A little understand from managers and colleagues can help avoid any conflicts.
  • As the days wears on the effect of the fast will grow. Afternoons will therefore generally be when the fasting employee is most tired. Plan ahead therefore use the morning for meetings and challenging work and perform routine tasks later.
  • Consider allowing fasting employees to use what would have been their lunch break more flexibly – e.g. only have 30 minutes for lunch and finish work 30 minutes earlier.
  • Ask colleagues to be conscious of eating around a fasting person. Just asking your colleague if they don’t mind will help foster better working relationships.
  • Avoid training sessions / seminars during Ramadhan when all staff are required to attend.
  • Fasting staff may request more than normal annual leave during Ramadhan. Assuming you can accommodate the same consider being flexible with the requests along with working hours.
  • Simply being aware of the month of Ramadhan can help avoid any issues / conflicts. Consider posting leaflets on staff notice boards to ensure everyone is aware.