How to support Muslim employees during Ramadan - Breaking Barriers

How to support Muslim employees during Ramadan

A guide for businesses on how to support Muslim employees during Ramadan.

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We worked with Nawal, one of our Lived Experience Panel members to put together valuable advice on how employers can support Muslim employees:

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide. With around 45% of our clients identifying as Muslim, understanding, and supporting their needs during Ramadan is essential.

During this time, Muslim employees may face unique challenges at work due to fasting, prayer obligations, and increased community activities. We believe in the power of responsible business. By demonstrating sensitivity and support, employers can cultivate a more inclusive and productive work environment for everyone.

It is important to note that everyone has different ways of practicing their faith therefore businesses should consider an individual approach that allows employees to freely share their needs during this time.

Here are some ways to provide support:

Allowing employees to pray on time.

Praying on time is very important for Muslims, especially during Ramadan. Being able to leave for 5 minutes, even when it’s busy, without questions or judgment will help your Muslim employees feel at ease.

Avoiding meetings during prayer times is another way to support your Muslim employees. The five daily prayers are:

  • Fajr (prayed at dawn)
  • Dhuhr (prayed at midday)
  • Asr (prayed in the afternoon)
  • Maghrib (prayed at sunset)
  • Isha (prayed at night)

These times change every day based on the sunrise and sunset. Here is a digital Ramadan timetable for daily prayer times for this year’s Ramadan:

If there’s space, set up a prayer room or an allocated space for both male and female workers to pray separately.

Be flexible with annual leave.

Ramadan is based on the Islamic calendar which is lunar. This means Muslims may not know when Eid or Ramadan is until the night before, therefore your employees might call the night before to change the date of their annual leave.

The last 10 days of Ramadan are considered the most holy, so your Muslim employees may ask to come in later or take time off so they can focus on prayer and their spirituality.

Consider condensed hours.

Sleep schedules can be a little different than usual during Ramadan; Muslims usually sleep later, wake at dawn and then go back to sleep; this makes 9am starts a bit tricky. Some people may prefer taking a shorter lunch break and finishing work a little earlier too.

Options for flexible working and time off are key to supporting Muslims at work. Fasting will likely have an impact on energy levels, coupled with longer nights spent in community and worship. Colleagues can be supported with more frequent rest breaks and more inclusive meeting hours.

Avoid evening meetings.

If you have late evening meetings or work events, try rescheduling them for earlier so your Muslim employees have enough time to rest and prepare for iftar (when Muslims break their fast).

Inclusive Communication

Promoting understanding and respect by educating colleagues through workshops or information sessions can encourage open dialogue and foster a culture where colleagues can ask questions respectfully and learn from each other.

By making adjustments and demonstrating sensitivity, employers can create a supportive and inclusive work environment for Muslim employees during Ramadan, creating a positive experience for everyone.

Find out more about how to provide support: