Ramadan in the Workplace

Ramadam in the workplace

by Emma Quinn, Associate, Employment & Immigration Law at Eversheds Sutherland LLP (Ireland)

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslims, including many of your Muslim employees, will be fasting from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food and drink during these hours. The first fast is expected to last from 4.50am to 6.00pm, increasing by one or two minutes each day, and by one hour after the clocks change. The final fast is expected to last between 4.40am and 7.50pm. During this month, Muslims wake up before dawn for their meal ahead of the fast and to perform morning prayers. The pre-dawn meal is known as Sehr and the meal to break the fast is called Iftar. The last 10 days of Ramadan of are particular significance, and it is common for Muslims to take some or all of this period as annual leave. The conclusion of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of Eid.

This year, it is expected that Ramadan will begin on Monday 10 March and end on Wednesday 10 April. During this time, many Muslims are faced with the challenge of balancing their religious commitments with work commitments. We have set out our top tips on how employers can accommodate their employees during the month of Ramadan.

  • Educate line managers and colleagues. For example, publicising the dates of Ramadan on your Intranet and explaining the concept of fasting can enable employees to be sensitive to the needs of colleagues who may be observing the fast.
  • As Muslims will be waking earlier than usual and staying up late, consider flexibility in start and finish times to the working day.
  • Avoid scheduling meetings around Iftar to allow colleagues to break their fast.
  • Consider flexibility to your hybrid working model to allow for more remote working.
  • Avoid scheduling important meetings, such as performance reviews, late in the day as an employee’s energy levels may be low.
  • Be prepared to receive, and where possible accept, annual leave requests for certain periods of Ramadan and Eid.

About the author

Emma is an Associate in the Employment department at Eversheds Sutherland LLP (Ireland). She advises clients in both the public and private sectors on a wide range of issues affecting the employment relationship, from pre-employment matters through to termination of the employment relationship.

Emma’s advisory work includes drafting employment contracts, consultancy agreements, employment policies and termination agreements. Emma also regularly provides on-the-spot advice in relation to day-to-day matters to include grievances and disciplinary matters, absence management and performance issues, whistleblowing, working time, payment of wages, equality/discrimination and the enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Emma has experience in data protection matters and regularly advises clients in relation to data subject access requests and their obligations under the GDPR.