Accommodating religious belief and practices during Ramadan is about being responsive to employees’ needs. It does not necessarily mean extra time off, it is about offering flexibility around existing holiday entitlement, working patterns or break periods. As supportive employers, NHS trusts have recognised that it is good practice to accommodate staff requests wherever possible.
Similarly staff should also be aware of the health issues related to fasting, so that they are able to make more informed choices, minimise complications and maximise the benefit of their fast as well as operational effectiveness.
Fasting, in one form or another, has always been an important and often necessary part of religious life, discipline and experience in many faiths. This year Muslims in the UK are facing the longest Ramadan in 33 years.
Several NHS organisations have developed useful guidance to help both staff and managers, including:
- Central Manchester University Hospitals – Ramadan guidance for staff and managers
- Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group - Advice and guidance for NHS staff during the holy month of Ramadan
- East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – Advice for patients and staff