Ramadan at work

Every year there will be Muslims who participate in Ramadan, a period of fasting. It takes a lot of effort for them to just stay at work because they are not allowed to eat or drink all day. This can lead to various complaints such as fatigue or concentration problems. The employer or colleagues can accommodate the fasting colleague, for example by reducing the burden on this colleague and allowing him to take breaks more often.

What does Ramadan entail?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This involves fasting between sunrise and sunset. The month of Ramandan is seen as a month of celebration, a month of tolerance, charity, fraternization and reflection. Fasting teaches people to acquire qualities such as discipline, endurance and self-control. In addition, fasting strengthens the empathy of the poor. At the end of Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr takes place, which is celebrated with family and friends.

The fasting

During fasting, not only is eating and drinking not allowed, smoking, bad mouthing, lying and sexual intercourse are also not allowed. Sick people, pregnant women and young children and all others for whom fasting poses a threat to their health do not need to fast. Eating is allowed before sunrise and after sunset. People who have to work during fasting will have to put in a lot of effort.

Colleagues who are fasting

If you have colleagues who are Muslim, chances are they will join in fasting during Ramadan. These colleagues must continue to work during the fast. During this period it is very difficult for them to simply work. Especially at the beginning of Ramadan when the body is not yet used to fasting. Anyone who is not allowed to eat all day can develop complaints. For example, people who fast can suffer from: fatigue, moodiness, mood swings and concentration problems.

Taking fasting colleagues into account an
employer can ensure that the fasting colleague has a little easier time during this period. If the employer and colleagues show understanding, it can help to make things easier for the fasting colleague. It is quite easy to take some measures in the workplace. Below are some tips for the fasting colleague:

  • More often with a break during Ramadan
  • Provide lighter work
  • Flexible working hours
  • Allow employees to exchange shifts with each other if applicable
  • Don’t offer treats
  • Avoid heavy meetings
  • No training/courses during this period


No legislation

There is no legislation in the Netherlands on how employers should deal with Ramadan. It is possible that an employer can contribute something now that The New Way of Working is being introduced. Furthermore, it is up to the employer and employees to understand the fasting colleague.

read more

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  • Mini breaks at work: when to take them and their usefulness
  • Employee absenteeism: causes and how to tackle it?

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