Ramadan starts today on Monday 12 April 2021 as Muslim officials observe the first new moon of the month. Ramadan is a very important time in the Islamic calendar as it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, or God. Muslims all over the world will spend the following 30 days fasting until the next new moon, expected on Thursday 13 May 2021, which people will celebrate with Eid al-Fitr.

It’s a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation during which Muslims spend extra time re-reading the Qur’an, performing special prayers, fasting, and doing good deeds or charitable work.

Thank you to one of our members, Co Op, for putting this guide together to help get your conversations started for Ramadan and support our Muslim colleagues.

Co Op have provided three key areas where we can help to best support our Muslim colleagues during the Holy Month of Ramadan:

1. Focuses on the key practical considerations that employers and managers need to be aware of when managing employees who observe Ramadan.

  • Have open conversations with your team letting them know that you’re aware of Ramadan.
  • Discuss whether more flexible work/shift patterns would be of help.
  • Flexibility of work within working hours should also be considered.
  • Consider providing a temporary space for prayer and facilities for ablution (washing).
  • Support holiday requests so colleagues can take days off during Ramadan and/or for Eid al-Fitr if they wish.

2. Focuses on the implications of fasting, wellbeing, and the combination of working remotely for long hours on employee productivity.

  • Working hours – be mindful that colleagues who are fasting will likely be more tired than usual, especially in the afternoons, and need more frequent breaks.
  • Medical Support – making suitable arrangements if required.
  • Fatigue and Dehydration – it is important to be able to identify the warning signs of fatigue and dehydration. Encourage colleagues to take rests and breaks if tired or dizzy.

3. Focuses on how leaders can proactively promote greater awareness to foster religious inclusivity in the workplace.

  • Islam is a faith that welcomes people of all races and backgrounds, so don’t make assumptions about who in your team may be observing Ramadan or not.
  • It’s also worth being aware that not all Muslims will fast, and those who do may not do so every day.
  • Don’t feel anxious about making a cup of tea or eating your lunch but do be mindful and courteous – for instance, don’t offer a brew or any food being shared round the team to colleagues who are fasting.
  • If your colleagues are working remotely, take the opportunity to check-in on their well-being and offer a Ramadan or Eid al-Fitr greeting.