We are part way through the religious month of Ramadan, so here’s a round up of what Employers need to know to support staff during this time.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in increased acts of prayer and charity. Naturally, this may impact energy and productivity levels, as an employee’s ability to concentrate may diminish across the day due to the absence of food and drink.
From a legal perspective, employers should always ensure they are not treating an employee less favourably because of their religion or belief. For example, in the case of Bhatti v Pontiac Coils Europe Ltd, the tribunal found that negative feedback given to an employee whose productivity has reduced due to fasting amounted to direct discrimination.
Therefore, you may want to explore, taking into account business requirements, the following options to support staff observing Ramadan:
- Flexible working – give staff the ability to structure their working hours at times when they have the energy to get a good job done.
- Remote working – allowing staff to work from home, particularly if they have a long commute, may be beneficial for both the organisation and the worker.
- Earlier start or finish times, with important meetings scheduled earlier in the day.
- Additional breaks throughout the day – these may be requested for rest or prayer, and can be agreed as unpaid time.
- Annual leave – be sensitive, sympathetic and fair in allowing staff time off.
The above measures will help to create an inclusive working environment, and prevent any potential discriminatory behaviours from occurring.