IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

HR Guidelines for Ramadan in the Workplace

  Reading Time:

In 2024, Ramadan in the UK is expected to begin on Monday 11 March and end on Friday 10 April (subject to moon sightings). Those observing the holy month will fast for 30 days and take part in religious practices.

Many working Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset every day, meaning they are not allowed to eat or drink for 17 hours for 30 days.

Although fasting is usually associated primarily with Ramadan, the month involves much more than just abstaining from food and drink. Eating the first meal at sunset, additional prayers, late nights and an increased emphasis on patience and virtue are part of the holy month.

HR managers, supervisors and other stakeholders need to be aware of the personal and religious sensitivities of their Muslim employees during this time.

Understanding their experiences and addressing their unique needs demonstrates good management and helps employees perform at their best. Implementing measures that address these needs can only lead to building mutual trust, ultimately leading to higher employee retention, better morale, more effective teams and higher productivity.

Muslims overall have specific religious boundaries; Ramadan is a time when many of these boundaries are tightened.

Although consultation is always key when creating policies, there are some best practice guidelines that human resources managers and others can follow when considering Ramadan in the workplace.

This article makes some suggestions, but their relevance depends on understanding your workforce, whether it has 1,000 Muslims or just one Muslim.

It cannot be emphasized enough that these are very general guidelines. Muslims differ from generation to generation, from culture to culture, some are more religious than others, and there are numerous interpretations and practices of the faith.

It may also be the case that a person is Muslim in name only and chooses not to practice their religion. The information discussed here applies to the majority of Muslims, but not to all.

What exactly is Ramadan?

The word "Ramadan" simply refers to the name of a month, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This month is considered the holiest of the twelve months as the Prophet Muhammad received the first divine revelation during Ramadan.

In short, it is considered the month of the year to devote oneself to God.

The Islamic calendar is calculated according to the lunar cycle. Ramadan therefore begins when there is a new moon. As a result, the start and end times change from year to year, typically moving forward by 10 days each year.

Currently in the UK, Ramadan takes place in spring, so the days are slightly longer; However, in some years, Muslims in Britain will fast for much shorter days during the winter.

What do Muslims do in Ramadan?

The basic requirement is that all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting means that no food, water, smoking, chewing gum or anything else is allowed to pass the lips.

In addition to the physical things that can break the fast, there are also actions that are considered unacceptable during the fast, such as:  telling a lie, slander, denunciation behind another's back, a false oath, greed or covetousness.

The fast is broken at sunset with a meal called iftar. Most Muslims traditionally consume water and dates. After sunset you can eat and drink without restrictions.

In addition to fasting, Muslims spend most of their evenings in a special prayer, Taraweeh, which is usually performed in a mosque. The prayer can last between one and three hours.

Eid ul Fitr

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid ul Fitr - the festival of breaking the fast. On the first day, Muslims usually go to the mosque to offer a special prayer. This is followed by a two or three day holiday during which families and friends visit each other, exchange gifts and socialize. With most Covid restrictions now relaxed in the UK, we can expect major celebrations to take place over these days and should therefore expect requests for leave from Muslim workers around this time.

Best practices for Ramadan in the workplace

  1. Determine when Ramadan is coming and who might be affected in the workplace. Muslims do not mind if you ask them about the upcoming fasting month, and without having to ask them directly, you should know whether they will fast or not.
  2. Make sure all employees who work with Muslim colleagues know what fasting means and how it might affect someone. Fasting for 17 hours a day is not easy and colleagues need to understand how this can affect behavior and working methods.
  3. If shift work is the norm, consider whether it is possible to give those fasting the opportunity to swap shifts or change their work hours to suit everyone involved.
  4. For those who work 9am to 5pm, consider flexible work start and end times. Check whether it is possible to use the lunch break and breaks to finish work earlier. Given the current situation where many employees are working from home, it should be easier for employers to give more flexibility to Muslim employees who are fasting.
  5. Asking a Muslim to attend a lunch meeting or a Friday retreat (even if it's an online video meeting) is asking a lot of them. Many will politely agree, but many will also refuse. Be understanding of those who do not feel comfortable watching others eat and drink.
  6. Allow Muslims to take a break at sunset to break their fast if they are frontline workers and still on shift. This time must be enough to break the fast, pray and then eat properly.
  7. If your company has a cafeteria for employees, try saving some meals for those fasting so they don't end up with less food at the end of the day.
  8. Avoid scheduling meetings in the afternoon. If a high level of concentration is required from employees, you should not expect it after lunchtime. Use the morning when people are still relatively fresh.
  9. Don't expect people to commit to evening events, even if it's just online video conferencing. Evenings will be dedicated to food, prayer and possibly virtual gatherings within the family and wider community.
  10. Be prepared for people to take 1-5 days of vacation at the end of Ramadan to celebrate the Sugar Festival. This holiday has the same emotional significance as Christmas and is the only time of year when entire families and neighborhoods come together to share gifts and good food.
  11. For fasting team members working remotely, consider the time difference and the impact of their daily schedule on meetings, deadlines, SLAs, etc.
  12. Try to use Ramadan as a platform for better understanding and team dynamics. Why not host a virtual or in-person iftar one evening and let employees share a part of their lives with colleagues?

By embracing diversity and accommodating religious practices like Ramadan, companies can foster a more inclusive workplace culture. IceHrm can help streamline HR practices to support all employees.

HR technology trends: What to expect in the future of work

Technology advancements have revolutionized HR management, providing software applications and HR platforms to store key data, automate tasks, and inform decision-making....

Employee Retention Challenges: Navigating the Modern Workplace

In 2024, retaining top talent is tougher than ever. Without real-time data and regular feedback, HR teams risk losing employees....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.