What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and lasts for 29 to 30 days every year, ending with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. Muslims observe the month of Ramadan, to mark that Allah, or God, gave the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad in 610. During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God. It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. Observances begin the morning after the crescent moon is visibly sighted, marking the beginning of the new month.
The start of Ramadan is decided upon the moon sighting. This year, it begins on 13th April 2021 and will end on 13th/14th May 2021 (again, depending on the moon sighting).
The holy month is observed by lots of our employees in the Middle East, and, it goes without saying that employers should not treat any employee differently because of their religion. Therefore, it is important that we remember the following tips to enhance our employee’s experience during the holy month.
Reduced Working Hours
The UAE labour law states that during the holy month of Ramadan, the working day must be reduced by 2 hours. This rule applies to all workers, not just those who are observing Ramadan and fasting. However, some employees do elect to continue working their normal hours. The only exception to this rule is in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) where the employment clearly states that employees who are fasting must reduce their working day by two hours, and those who are not fasting must work their working day as normal.
Ensure your employees leave work on time if they are fasting, as many of them are parents and will need to prepare for iftar (breaking of the fast) with their families. It is traditional to have iftar with family, friends and loved ones.
For employees working whilst fasting, it can be exhausting. It is vital for us to keep this in mind during the holy month and accommodate this, to ensure we can be as productive as possible.
Try to reduce the length of meetings during the day. Employees who are fasting can lose their concentration more easily than they normally would.
Make sure your employees are not overwhelmed with their workload during Ramadan. Work on planning your team’s projects and individual tasks with this in mind.
Eating and drinking in the office
During Ramadan in the Middle East, it is not allowed to eat and drink in public. This is the same for workplaces and offices. Make sure you have dedicated private spaces allocated specifically for eating and drinking during the holy month.
No smoking in public
Smoking in public places is strictly forbidden during the holy month, and all building, both commercial (Office buildings) and residential buildings must adhere to this and inform all tenants to adhere to the rules.
Ramadan Celebrations and Eid-ul-Fitr
Ramadan is a time to celebrate, and similar to a Christians run up to Christmas. Why not make the time a little bit more fun with decorations around the office to make everyone feel involved.
It is traditional in the UAE for companies to hold an Iftar after work for their employees. Keeping in mind it is traditional to spend iftar with loved ones, encourage your team members or employees to invite their family along.
At the end of the Holy month is Eid-ul-Fitr. It is known as the festival of breaking the fast, and is one of the major holidays in Islam. In the UAE, this is marked as a public holiday, and announced on the moon sighting.