If your charity is considering how to best support staff and volunteers who might be observing Ramadan at this time, read on for a legal update on HR best practice. This has been adapted from legal updates courtesy of Sandy Adirondack (full credits at the end):
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month-long Muslim observance which this year began at sunset on 12/13 April and is expected to end at sunset 12/13 May, and during which time those observing Ramadan will be fasting and taking part in religious practices for 30 days.
What are the statutory requirements for employers?
There are no statutory requirement for employers to make adjustments or arrangements for employees or volunteers who are fasting during Ramadan or other holidays when people of specific religious groups are required to fast, but considerate employers will try to do so.
What are some reasonable considerations to support colleagues?
Regardless of whether a person is working from home or at a workplace, an employer might consider allowing, where it is reasonable to do so, several short breaks during the day rather than an extended lunch hour; allowing flexible hours so workers’ start and finish times can suit the periods of fasting; and trying not to require fasting workers to attend lunch meetings or evening events. For people in a workplace, the employer may be able to provide a quiet area for prayer or rest. Arrangements such as this should be discussed with fasting workers, rather than assuming this is what they want, and/or employers should make clear to workers that they can ask for such arrangements.
The articles below have practical suggestions for providing a pleasant and supportive working environment for Muslim colleagues. Many of the suggestions are also relevant to arrangements for service users.
- Workplace considerations during Ramadan (NHS). Information and guidance for NHS managers and staff, but relevant for all employers and organisations using volunteers, 2021.
- HR Zone: Ramadan at work: HR best practice. Includes what actually is Ramadan; what do Muslims do in Ramadan; Eid ul Fitr; best practice for Ramadan at work. 7 April 2021
- Trade Unions Congress: Ramadan and coronavirus: Supporting Muslim workmates. This is from last year, when we were in full lockdown. Things aren’t quite as strict now, but the guidance still applies. 23 April 2020.
Further support from RVA
- If your charity is considering how to improve inclusion and diversity, take a look at our resources here or contact our Inclusion Development Worker, Azra Raja at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you would like advice on employment or HR, please contact Herjeet at email@example.com.
Happy Ramadan/Ramadan Mubarak!
Credits: Sandy Adirondack’s legal update emails for voluntary organisations. To sign up to these directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.