How to support Muslim colleagues during Ramadan — tips for employers

3/21/2023 8:50 PM

Ramadan is just around the corner and Muslim employees will have the challenge of managing work commitments alongside fasting and praying.

But if you’re an employer, what steps can you take to make the lives of your Muslim colleagues easier during this holy month?

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from consuming food and drink from dawn to dusk. And we engage in acts of charity and prayer with heightened dedication. This month is regarded as a period of introspection, spiritual development, and strengthening of community bonds.

Here’s a list of top tips on how you can accommodate the needs of your Muslim employees.

Be aware of the dates and timings of Ramadan

Employers should be aware of Ramadan's start and end dates, which are determined by the lunar calendar. The exact dates are often not known until the day before.  

The timings of iftar (breaking the fast) and suhoor (pre-dawn meal) also change daily, based on when the sun rises and sets.  

Understanding this will help employers plan work schedules, meetings, events, deadlines and leave requests in a way that does not conflict with the religious observances of their Muslim employees.

Be considerate and allow flexible working hours

Those fasting are likely to wake up early in the morning for suhoor and then attend the mosque for evening prayers every day. As a result, this may affect their productivity, especially in the first few days of fasting, as it takes time to adjust to the routine.

Be considerate and make temporary adjustments to ease their working day during the month. This flexibility can make a big difference in helping Muslim employees manage their work commitments and religious obligations.

Provide a prayer space

Prayer is an integral part of Islam. Employers can support their Muslim employees by providing a quiet and private space for prayer. This can help employees feel more comfortable and focused during prayer and reduce the time they need to take away from work.

Be open to conversations

Employers can demonstrate their support by initiating conversations with their Muslim employees and asking how they can be more accommodating. This can foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture where all employees feel respected and valued.

Be aware of annual leave

During the end of Ramadan, Muslim employees may want annual leave. The last ten days of Ramadan are particularly holy and Muslims intensify their worship during this period. Eid al-Fitr signifies the end of Ramadan and most will request this day off.  

Early discussion and accommodation of the needs of your employees can minimise clashes and issues in the workplace.

Ramadan is a significant month for Muslims worldwide, and employers should be accommodating and supportive towards their Muslim employees during this time.

Respecting this important time for Muslims can show that the employer values and supports the religious practices of their Muslim employees.