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Ramadan: A Guide for Employers

Ramadan is a worldwide month of fasting observed by Muslims in the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar. Ramadan will next fall on the 16th May 2018 until the 14th June 2018.     

Muslims avoid eating or drinking liquids between daybreak and sunset. There are exceptions for the ill, diabetics, breastfeeding mothers and other groups who may suffer in health terms by fasting. The pre-dawn meal is called the suhur and the meal eaten at sunset which breaks the fast is known as iftar. 

RamadanThe fast will vary in length in accordance with daylight hours depending on the time of year when Ramadan falls. The longest day of the year in the UK in daylight terms is June 24th and when Ramadan falls close to this employers should be aware that Muslim employees are going without food or drink for very long periods and should consider how this might affect them.  Consideration should be given to the safety aspects of fasting  and the increased likelihood of dizzy spells and fainting which may affect employees working with heavy machinery. 

Suggested policies for employers with staff observing Ramadan

  • Avoid working breakfast and lunch meetings;
  • Consider allowing Muslim employees to skip lunch breaks in return for an earlier finish;
  • Ask other staff to show consideration when eating food and drinking around those observing Ramadan;
  • Don’t require Muslims to attend evening work functions so that they can break the fast;
  • Allow Muslims to take time off for Eid which falls at the end of Ramadan.