· News

Ramadan: how employers can support Muslim colleagues

HR professionals have a key role to play when it comes to supporting Muslim employees during Ramadan, including planning a work day around fasting and giving workers the necessary time off.

Shakil Butt, founder of HR Hero for Hire, believes that companies have a responsibility to educate their people teams about Ramadan so they can better anticipate the needs of Muslim employees. 

He told HR magazine: "HR professionals can be proactive by educating their people managers to reach out to their Muslim staff ahead of time and pre-empt the question and ask ‘will they be booking time off for the Eid celebration’ as well as offering flexibility over which days are taken.

"Some Muslim employees dread having this conversation – booking their annual leave – and delay having it which in turn makes it more difficult for the business to grant it."

Embracing religion in the workplace:

Why corporates need to go further with understanding the faith agenda

D&I clinic: Celebrating faith in an increasingly non-religious society

Employees more tolerant about religion than general public

Olivier Barles, regional medical director at health firm International SOS, suggested businesses tailor their support around a hybrid working model. 

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "Role permitting, HR managers could consult with employees and their colleagues to rearrange meetings and difficult tasks to the morning, if possible. This can allow observing employees to concentrate on work at times when they’re most efficient, structuring their day around fasting hours [from dawn to sunset]."

Barles added that making the entire organisation aware of Ramadan will help observing employees feel more valued. 

"HR managers also have a role to play in developing an inclusive workplace culture, raising awareness among the wider workforce and acknowledging the observation," he added.

"They may want to encourage wishing observing employees 'Ramadan Mubarak' (Happy Ramadan) and consider doing something to mark Eid-al-Fitr to raise awareness and make those observing feel valued."

Vicky McDonald, director of HR and organisation development at non-profit employment organisation The Growth Company, stressed the importance of communication too.

She told HR magazine: “Our teams are encouraged to adopt inclusive language and to be even more mindful of courteous behaviour throughout the Ramadan period. 

"For the avoidance of doubt, specific examples of how to show support are shared with all members of the team and we also share the experience of colleagues celebrating Ramadan across our internal communications, which ensures everyone is equipped to positively embrace this important spiritual and sacred period.”   


Further ways to assist employees during Ramadan:

How HR can help Muslims during an unusual Ramadan

Helping your employees cope with Ramadan