Ramadan 2024: at work

Whether you’re a Muslim observing the fast, or you want to create a supportive workplace, here’s what you should know this Ramadan.

What happens during Ramadan?
It is a time for deep spiritual reflection and collective rituals for Muslims across the UK. It’s a time for Muslims to share food with their families and friends, and celebrate their cultures, heritage and faith.

The fasting day is long. The morning meal will be before dawn and people won’t break their fast until dusk. That’s 13 hours without food or drink (yes that’s right, not even water!). This can be challenging for many Muslims especially whilst at work.

That’s why it’s important to support your Muslim workmates, to stand in solidarity with them and create a team culture where everyone is respected and valued, no matter where they’re from or who they worship.

How to wish someone a ‘Happy Ramadan’
To wish someone a Happy Ramadan, the greeting most commonly used is ‘Ramadan Mubarak’. This translates to ‘Blessed Ramadan’. Another commonly used greeting is ‘Ramadan Kareem’, which translates to ‘Generous Ramadan’.

The Trades Union Congress have provided some practical steps colleagues and employers can take to support their Muslim workmates and friends:

Ask colleagues if they’re observing Ramadan

Don’t be shy about asking Muslim colleagues if they will be observing Ramadan.

Some people may choose not to take part – perhaps for medical reasons – as fasting is a personal choice.

Be considerate

Ramadan should not interfere with everyday tasks at work, but fasting co-workers may be tired or lacking energy during the day.

Usually the first ten days are the hardest. If you have colleagues who will be fasting, ask them if changing some aspects of work can make it easier for them.

Be flexible

Ramadan isn’t only about not eating or drinking during daylight hours.

It usually means rising early and eating late, and may mean taking part in late night prayers at the mosque or their homes. Ramadan is usually a time for deep spiritual reflection, congregational prayers and lots of social dinners with family and friends.

Some workers may ask to change their working day or shift times, to take a shorter lunch break, or to make sure they finish on time so they can break their fast at home.

Being flexible may help people work when they are most productive.

Some workers might have additional religious commitments during Ramadan. It may be especially important to perform prayers on time through the week. Employers can help by ensuring there’s a quiet space in the workplace for prayers and by allowing short breaks.

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered to be especially holy. Some Muslim workers might decide to take time off, or ask to change their working patterns to perform all-night prayers.

The end of the fasting period

Eid ul Fitr marks the end of the fasting period. It’s like Christmas for Muslims – the biggest celebration of the year.

There is often some uncertainty about which day Eid will fall because it depends on moon sightings, so be prepared for your Muslim colleagues not to know the exact date.

This may also impact on when they can work and how much notice they can give you, as Eid can last up to three days.

Supporting colleagues during Ramadan is part of building a culture where everyone is respected and valued.