Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan)


How managers can support Muslim staff during Ramadan

As Muslims around the world prepare for Ramadan, you may have a number of staff who will be fasting from sunrise to sunset each day beginning March 22nd to April 21st. Please note that these dates are not fixed and can vary depending on the sighting of a new moon as the Islamic calendar is based solely on the Lunar cycle. Therefore, observing Muslim staff will not be able to eat or drink during the day. Hence, all managers should see this as a top priority for their staff to ensure a safe working environment for all of their team.

This year Ramadan begins on March 22nd and will end a month later on the sighting of a new moon (approx. 30 days ± 1 day). The 9th and holiest month of the Islamic calendar marks the start of fasting for Muslims across the world.  During this month of strict fasting, Muslims are forbidden from eating or drinking anything between Sunrise (Sehri) and Sunset (Iftar). Ramadan is a special time when fasting is observed without food or water for a lengthy period of time. It is a spiritual challenge when everyone participating can show commitment and resilience and support each other through the course of the fast.

Supporting Muslim staff members:


  • Consider a discussion with your team members on Ramadan, where those who are comfortable may want to share that they are fasting and can do so in a welcoming and approachable environment.
  • Try and support staff participating in Ramadan by providing broader and flexible working arrangements, extending allowances for more frequent breaks, or allowing absences around sundown to create time for breaking fast and evening prayers.
  • Remind staff that it is important to look out for their fasting colleagues.
  • Encourage staff to participate in rest breaks during longer fasting hours, therefore keep up to date on the Ramadan timetable.(
  • Be mindful when offering food to fasting employees.
  • Reschedule some activities or assignment deadlines that clash with Ramadan fasting times of the day for which mental clarity could be impeded due to fasting.
  • Organise cover for staff requesting time off or annual leave during the month of Ramadan or other religious observations.
  • Let staff know you are available for them if they need to speak with you privately, as faith can be a very personal topic.
  • Understand that observing Ramadan does not necessarily cause health or safety concerns. However, be aware that fasting and a disrupted sleep schedule in some people may cause tiredness, weakness, dehydration and other symptoms that can be signs of potential stress. Be available for your staff should any such concern rise.


  • Expect or force staff to disclose if they are fasting. Be sensitive to their needs by encouraging and reminding them that you, as managers are there for them if and when appropriate support is requested.
  • Assume all staff will be fasting during this month, as some Muslim staff may have personal, private or other viable reasons for not observing the Ramadan fast. Others may continue to fast after the month ends due to missed dates for personal reasons such as illness or other health issues so any sensible accommodations should continue to be provided if needed. (

For further information on our initiatives and for support, help and advice, please see the contact details below.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is known as the holiest month in the Islamic calendar and is a time when Islamic communities, families and friends unite to observe fast, breaking of fast and pray. It is a time for reflecting and for charitable giving to those less fortunate. An increased emphasis on prayer is also observed, such as an additional night of prayers (Tarawih) conducted at community mosques by an Imam (worship leader) or at home.

Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and other activities from Sunrise to Sunset. Fasting (Sawm) is just one of the five pillars of Islam and is mandatory for all healthy adults. However, there is an exemption for children who have not reached puberty, people who are physically or mentally incapable of fasting, those who are on their periods, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the elderly.

During Ramadan, Muslims can fast for as long as 10-19 hours each day for 30 days depending on where they live and the length of the day (depending on the season).  The duration of the fast increases by a few minutes each day, and during the last ten nights of Ramadan fasting some Muslims will increase their nightly prayers and devotions.

The beginning and end of Ramadan fasting changes every year because it is based on the moon cycles associated with the Islamic lunar calendar. The start of Ramadan is determined by religious leaders’ sightings of the new moon.

Although Muslims wait for the sighting of the new moon before announcing the first day of Ramadan, they will sometimes estimate the date and time based on existing patterns – making a sensible predication.

Devout Muslims will begin each day with a small meal before the break of dawn and then refrain from having food and drink. Negative thoughts, gossip, slander, and anything considered “unholy” in the Islamic faith is avoided throughout the day.

After sunset and prayers, a meal is prepared known as iftar to break the fast for that day with family and friends; this is often referred to as a feast.

The end of Ramadan takes place with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. This is when everyone takes part in a special meal. It is the first meal eaten during daylight hours after 30 days of fasting and is an occasion to be celebrated with family and friends.


For further information, please contact Helen in the DEI team:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
MPA Champion for Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]

For support, help and advice, please contact the following articles and organisations:

Support for Ramadan fasting and diet
Ramadan fasting discussion
What is Ramadan
Why is prayer important during Ramadan

Helpline in the UK
A guide to healthy fasting
Caring for someone during Ramadan
Diabetes and Ramadan

Diet and nutrition
Ramadan fasting – What to eat
What is and isn’t allowed during Ramadan?

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