11 Mar 2024

Employers often ask ‘do I have to allow employees to take time off and work flexibly during Ramadan?’

Employers may also need to adjust working arrangements, review religious holiday policies, minimise religious harassment risks, and beware of the impact of fasting on well-being.

Here are some key tips to help you manage this key period of religious observance.

1. Annual leave/holiday requests: Expect a higher number of annual leave/holiday requests, especially around Eid, for celebrations and religious observances. While there's no automatic entitlement to time off during Ramadan or Eid, requests should be handled fairly and reasonably according to company policy.

2. Flexible Working: Consider flexible working arrangements, such as adjusting working hours or duties, particularly if remote work isn't already established.

3. Prayer: Accommodate short breaks for prayers or provide a private prayer space for employees. Avoid blanket rules against praying in the workplace to prevent indirect discrimination.

4. Health and Safety: Proactively assess potential impacts on employees' concentration and judgment due to fasting, particularly in hazardous roles, and implement necessary safety measures.

5. Performance: Be mindful of potential performance impacts due to fasting and avoid unfairly penalising employees, which could lead to claims of discrimination.

6. Harassment: Promote awareness and sensitivity towards Ramadan in the workplace to prevent harassment based on religious beliefs or productivity levels during fasting.

7. Scheduling: Consider scheduling meetings and appraisals earlier in the day to accommodate fluctuating energy levels during fasting.