Quoted from: Neil Payne, A best-practice guide for HR professionals on how to support employees observing Ramadan in 2022. HRZone – 21st Mar 2022
In 2022, Ramadan will begin on 2nd April and end on 1st May (depending on moon sightings).
- 1. Establish when Ramadan is approaching and who this could affect at work. Muslims will not mind if asked about the upcoming month and without having to be direct, one should be able to know whether or not they will be fasting.
- 2. Ensure all staff that work with Muslim colleagues are aware of what fasting entails and how this could impact someone. Fasting 17 hours a day is not easy and colleagues need to appreciate how this can translate into behaviour and working practices.
- 3. If shift work is the norm, look at any changes that can be made to offer those fasting the opportunity to swap shifts or change their working hours in a way that suits all parties.
- 4.For those in 9-5 roles, consider flexitime options for start and finish times. See if allowances can be made for people to work lunch hours and breaks in return for an earlier finish. Given the current circumstances, with many employees working from home, it should be easier for employers to allow greater flexibility for Muslim employees who are fasting.
- 5. Asking a Muslim to attend a lunch meeting or a Friday ‘wind-down’ drinks party (even if it is an online video meetup) demands a lot of them. Many may politely agree, as will many decline. Be understanding of those that do not feel comfortable sitting and watching people eat and drink.
- 6. Make special allowances for Muslims to take a break at sunset to break their fast if they are front-line workers and still happen to be on shift. This needs to be ample time to break their fast, pray and then eat properly.
- 7. If your organisation has a canteen for workers, try and arrange for some meals to be saved for people fasting so they are not left choice less at the end of their day.
- 8. Avoid booking in meetings for the afternoon. If high concentration levels are needed from people, don’t expect this after lunchtime. Use the morning when people are still relatively fresh.
- 9. Do not expect people to commit to evening events, even if they are just online video meetups. The evenings are dedicated to eating, prayers and potentially virtual gatherings within the family and wider community.
- 10. Be prepared for people to take between 1-5 days holiday at the end of Ramadan to celebrate Eid. This has the emotional equivalent to Christmas and is the one time of the year whole families and neighbourhoods usually get together to share presents and good food, however it is likely to be a very different celebration this year due to the pandemic.
- 11. For fasting team members who are working remotely, work out time differences and how their daily routine will impact you in terms of meetings, deadlines, SLAs, etc.
- 12. Try and use Ramadan as a platform for greater understanding and improving team dynamics. Why not throw a virtual or in-person iftar one evening and allow people to share a part of their lives with colleagues?