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Supporting Muslim staff during Ramadan

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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar year and is the month of fasting. In the UK this year Ramadan occurs from 15 May until around 15 - 17 June 2018. Fasting is considered a duty upon all adults and healthy Muslims. 

Muslims regard Ramadan as an opportunity for self-purification, reflection and a renewed focus on spirituality. Muslims appreciate the feeling of togetherness shared by family and friends throughout the month. It is also a month of charity giving and benevolence.


I manage and/or work with staff that are fasting; what do I need to know?

Fasting will start between 3 - 4 am and end around 9 pm (there are slight variations to the times each day) but typically a Muslim who is fasting will go without food or water for over 18 hours a day. Fasting in the summer is also combined with disturbances in normal sleep pattern that can leave individuals feeling more tired than normal, particularly mid-afternoon and towards the end of the day. Also, towards the latter part of the day some individuals that are feasting might feel a little lightheaded. 

An agreement to requests for slight adjustments to the working day during Ramadan will be appreciated by Muslim staff members. For example, some Muslim staff members may wish to start earlier in the morning or have a shorter lunch break so that they can finish early. Managers are asked to accommodate this where at all possible and within reason. 

It is considerate to avoid scheduling staff social activities or working lunches during Ramadan.

Some Muslim staff members may endeavour to practice their faith more during Ramadan than they might for the remainder of the year. As a consequence of this, more Muslim staff might wish to offer prayers during the day. This will normally be around 1pm - 5pm in the summer months for a few minutes each.


What happens when Ramadan ends?

The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid for which some Muslim staff members will wish to take leave from work. The actual day Eid falls on will depend on when the new moon is sighted. For this reason it might not be possible for the staff member to be very specific about the day they would like to be away from work. Again, managers are asked to take this into account and be flexible where possible.

For more information on UCL's policies on religion and belief please see guidelines for students and staff.