Employment Law Update – Employers Guide To Ramadan

I found this article relating to Employment Law which I thought may be of interest. So here it is for you

Ramadan started on 1st August. Muslims (including those who may not normally practice or pray) take the holy month extremely seriously. During this time participating Muslims fast during daylight hours and offer special prayers.

Employers can do a number of things to help ensure those who are participating in the religious observance, and those who are not, are dealt with fairly and sensibly.

Muslims are likely to pray the two afternoon prayers at their place of work. There is no requirement to provide extra time off, but try to allow the time and somewhere quiet in which to do this.

The period from sunrise to sunset is along one at this time of year remember that those fasting may well feel tired later in the day. This has implications for the operation of machinery, driving etc. Try to organise meetings earlier rather than later in the day and where you use a flexible shift system, consider putting those participating on the early shift during the course of this month.

On the subject of food, try to avoid ‘working lunches’, but if there is no alternative, explain the practicalities of the situation to non-Muslims. Muslims who are participating in Ramadan are unlikely to commit to voluntary evening functions, e.g. a client dinner.


Where a Muslim employee has to work beyond sunset, make arrangements for him or her to eat something and pray at sunset.

Ramadan is followed by Eid (31st August) a three day feast marking the end of Ramadan. Many Muslims want to take this as a holiday. If you can accommodate the request, then do so, but the usual rules apply and holiday must only be taken with agreement by the employer. If a person takes holiday without permission – even for reasons associated with religious belief – it’s still an unauthorised absence.

It’s a good idea to make your managers, aware of the practical issues surrounding Ramadan and its impact on Muslim employees.

Matters like this are included in Law on the Move, a programme of employment law updates, including interactive webinars. Follow the link for details of our special offer.

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in the practical application of employment law as well as providing employment law training and HR support services. For more information, visit our website at www.russellhrconsulting.co.uk or call a member of the team on 0845 644 8955.

Russell HR Consulting offers HR services to businesses nationwide, including Buckinghamshire (covering Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Banbury, Northampton, Towcester and surrounding areas), Nottinghamshire (covering Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Worksop and surrounding areas) and Hampshire (covering Aldershot, Basingstoke, Reading, Farnborough, Fareham, Portsmouth, Southampton and surrounding areas).
Kate Russell started Russell HR Consulting in 1998 and now divides her time between advising businesses of all sizes on HR issues, and delivering a range of highly practical employment law awareness training to line managers, including a range of public workshops. Her unique combination of legal background, direct line management experience and HR skills, enables Kate to present the stringent requirements of the law balanced against the realities of working life. She is a senior presenter for several companies and a popular public speaker. Kate completed an MA in strategic human resource management in 2004.
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