We are now in the period of Ramadan, a period of time in the Muslim calendar which is observed by Muslims worldwide and includes a month of fasting. Ramadan is held during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and this year and will end on June 4th. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting from dawn until sunset.
It is best practice to be mindful of this religious festival and consider the needs of Muslim colleagues and members of the public with whom we interact. The following may help you support your employees:
- Be aware that Muslims who are observing Ramadan may be awake throughout the night when they are able to break their fast, eating and drinking only after sunset. Think of what that might mean for people working for you.
- Do not assume that all Muslims are fasting as there are of course exceptions, for example pregnant, ill, young or old Muslims are exempt if they wish. It is better (and politer) to ask rather than assuming.
- For those who are fasting, avoid offence by refraining from offering food and drink between dawn and sunset. How would you like to be treated?
- Consider whether you may be able to allow flexible working arrangements for the period of Ramadan
- Be sensitive to the fact that those who are fasting may be mildly anxious by the lack of food and liquid, especially in the latter part of the day (and even more so if we have hot, sunny days).
- Be sensitive to the feelings of anyone who is fasting and if at all possible do please think about refraining from eating in front of them.
- Be flexible throughout the month, things may change in how people are reacting to the fast and may ask for a change in working pattern part way through rather than pre-plan
During Ramadan, some members of the public observing Ramadan who use your services may sound additionally tired, frustrated or distressed about issues so remember there may needs to be sensitivity as they may be vulnerable at this time. Let us all be even calmer and more considerate.