Ramadan 2018 - This is what companies must do to support Muslim staff through this month of fasting

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Ramadan is now underway but how exactly do people in the workplace cope with a month of fasting?

It can't be easy to go without food and drink in offices where staff routinely eat sandwiches at their desks - and bring in cakes and biscuits for birthdays and other occasions.

In 2018, Ramadan started on May 17 and is expected to end on June 14.

 

This is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims carry out daily fasting, prayer and self-reflection.

It's the holiest month for followers of this religion.

But a month of fasting from early morning to sunset is inevitably going to have an impact on Muslim members of the workforce, so this is something for companies to consider.

To support employees who are observing Ramadan, Peninsula Employment Law director Alan Price has provided some key tips for employers.

1. Be understanding of the effect on work

Fasting during sunlight hours will have a different effect on each individual, although the likely impact will be to lower productivity levels of employees, especially towards the end of the day.

Managers should be understanding of this and take practical steps to reduce the effect, such as scheduling important meetings early in the day or allowing employees to have a period of rest when they are showing fatigue.

Any less favourable treatment because the employee is observing Ramadan is likely to be classed as religious discrimination.

2. Consider flexibility

As daylight hours increase, observing Muslims will be required to start their day earlier than normal to eat a meal in the early hours, before sunrise.

This can lead to a substantial gap before the working day starts and the employee is likely to be detrimentally affected by a long working day.

Where possible, offering flexible working hours during Ramadan, such as starting earlier, will help the employee as they will be at work during the hours they have the most energy.

Additionally, it will allow them to finish work earlier and avoid strenuous mental or physical activity during the later hours of the day.

Flexibility around the employee’s duties can also be considered. For example, requiring them to attend a client lunch while fasting may not be appropriate. Instead, consider whether the location of the meeting can be amended or agree that food will not be served.

Muslimsbreak their fast after the final evening prayer during Ramadan in Yangon, Burma. Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

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Source: birminghammail

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