Guidance to support staff and students observing Ramadan has been updated and is available on the Equality & Inclusion Unit (EPU) Ramadan webpages.
Our students and staff from the Muslim faith will be observing the month of Ramadan (a period of fasting) this year over the period 23 April – 23 May 2020. The exact dates (which could vary one day either side) depend on the moon sightings based on the lunar calendar. This year the observance of Ramadan and Eid celebrations will be impacted by Government restrictions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The restrictions are going to impact on who is able to take part in daily fasting, working/studying from home arrangements and participation in communal prayers and meals.
We are keen to ensure that Muslim staff and students are supported to observe Ramadan during this period of social distancing. If you are a Muslim staff member or student who is fasting whilst studying or working from home you should ensure that you are taking regular breaks. You may wish to consider taking your lunch break at a different time or shifting your start time and finish time.
Managers should take note of the following guidance;
- Be aware and open to discussing Ramadan and what support or adjustments Muslim staff would like.
- Many Muslim staff are likely to be working from home during this time, which may be beneficial in some ways to those fasting but could also present challenges. Managers are advised to demonstrate flexibility to current working from home practices. Allow employees to have regular breaks for afternoon prayers and allow for flexible working hours (i.e. an early start, working through lunch and an early finish) during this period if requested.
- Members of staff may request leave over this period, for example, to work half-days and/or shorter working weeks to enable them to observe Ramadan. Other Muslim staff may request more flexible working arrangements. Leave requests are also likely to be made to enable staff to celebrate Eid with their families at the end of Ramadan. These requests should be managed in line with all existing University HR policies.
- Managers may wish to consider their meeting times over this period which enables the contribution of most staff.
- Managers are advised to demonstrate empathy, sensitivity and understanding to balance supporting our staff to manage their Ramadan commitments, alongside ensuring we meet all our business needs.
Further advice about how the University supports Muslim staff and students can be found on the Equality & Inclusion Unit (EPU) Ramadan webpages. The Muslim Council of Britain also has useful COVID-19 guidance for #RamadanAtHome.
The Equality & Inclusion Unit has also developed a religious festival and events calendar to support academic and wider event planning.