Skip to main content

Supporting Muslim employees during Ramadan


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and considered the holy month for Muslims. Senior associate solicitor Katy Parkinson and trainee solicitor Casey Moonie from our employment law team highlight ways in which employers can support their Muslim employees during this holy month.

During the month of Ramadan, healthy adult Muslims are encouraged to fast between sunrise and sunset each day to show their devotion to their religion and their god.

Muslims who observe the fast are unable to eat or drink during daylight hours. They will instead eat when the sun sets in the evening and wake up early before the sun rises to eat. Additionally, as part of the traditions during the holy month, Muslims are encouraged to pray five compulsory prayers, particularly during the night, and abstain from bad behaviour such as lying, swearing or gossiping. The aim of Ramadan is to come out a better person all round.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2021 Islam was the second most common religion, so it is important for employers to have an awareness of Islamic religious beliefs and practices.

When does Ramadan start?

This year, Ramadan started on March 10, 2024, and is expected to end on April 9, 2024, subject to the cycles of the moon. On the first day of Ramadan, sunrise took place in the North West at 06:37 and set at 18:06. On the expected last day of Ramadan, the sun is predicted to rise in the North West at 06:24 and set at 20:02. This means Muslims observing Ramadan in the North West of England will fast for just under 12 hours at the start of the month and will be fasting for around 13 and a half hours each day towards the end of the holy month.

Employees observing Ramadan will likely experience increased levels of fatigue throughout the working day due to a disturbed sleeping pattern combined with the impact of fasting and late-night prayers. This could have an impact on an employee’s wellbeing and their performance at work.

Changes to working patterns during Ramadan

As an employer, during Ramadan you could offer Muslim employees the option to work from home where possible. By affording Muslim employees the option to work from home, you would remove the need for them to commute, which could help to reduce their fatigue levels by enabling them to have more time to rest and minimise the time they spend fasting as they will have ready access to food at home.

Additionally, this would give employees access to their own private space to pray during their breaks. Muslim employees may feel more comfortable praying at home, and this could be a good way to ensure your employees can practise their faith, without compromising the needs of your business.

This could be especially useful if you do not have the facilities to accommodate a prayer room at work.

If you are unable to offer the option of working from home, there are other ways in which you can support Muslim employees who are observing Ramadan, including:

  • altering shift patterns or start and finish times
  • rearranging schedules at work, for example by moving more mentally and/or physically demanding tasks to times of day when employees may have more energy
  • allowing employees to take smaller breaks throughout the day, rather than one long lunch break, to try to combat any fatigue or tiredness they may be experiencing. Shorter but more frequent breaks could also provide a window of opportunity to pray. Employers do need to ensure that at least one of the daily breaks is an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes if the employee works more than six hours in a day.

Facilitating Ramadan in the workplace

It is a good idea to designate a quiet room as a prayer room if you do not have one already, to give employees the opportunity to pray during their working day.

You could also raise awareness and educate other employees about Ramadan and what it entails, perhaps by asking your Muslim employees to write or talk about their experiences of Ramadan.

It would also be considerate to avoid arranging work events that revolve around food and drink during Ramadan. Excluding snacks in meetings could also help fasting employees feel more at ease.

You should not be afraid to ask questions, as most Muslim employees would be happy to answer these.

Celebrating the end of Ramadan

At the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the festival Eid al-Fitr by exchanging gifts and dining together. In many countries around the world, Eid al-Fitr is a public holiday however it is not in the UK.

It is likely that Muslim employees will ask to take annual leave for the period of Eid al-Fitr and, as an employer, you should ensure that you have sound business reasons to decline any such requests to avoid allegations of discrimination.

You should also be mindful as to when the festival is likely to fall each year to enable you to plan accordingly. Maintaining good lines of communication with employees will be important and you could also include religious events and festivals on your company calendars to increase awareness in the workplace and assist line managers in planning annual leave in advance with their staff.

Failing to adequately educate yourself and your workforce about religious beliefs could result in grievances or claims of discrimination and harassment where employees feel they are not supported or respected, or that they are being treated detrimentally by their employer for practising their faith.

Our employment law team can help with advice, policies and training on equality, diversity and inclusion. Contact the Harrison Drury employment law team on 01772 258 321 or by emailing

Questions & Answers

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Manage your privacy

How we handle your personal data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you more control over how companies like ours use your personal information and makes it quicker and easier for you to check and update the information we hold about you.

As part of our service to you, we will continue to collect, use, store and share your data safely and securely. This doesn’t require any action on your part.

For more detailed information view our Privacy Hub