Creating an inclusive environment during Ramadan

A guide for managers and all staff on how you can support your Muslim colleagues during Ramadan.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the ninth month of the Islamic (Lunar) calendar, lasting twenty-nine to thirty days from the sighting of the crescent moon to the next. The month of Ramadan also marks the first revelation of the Quran to the holy Prophet Muhammed (Peace be Upon Him).

During this month, Muslims around the world observe fasting, praying, spiritual reflection and engaging in several acts of charity. They also dedicate this month to requesting forgiveness for sins, pray for guidance and direction and cleanse themselves through self-control and observing many acts of faith.

The month is also regarded as a month of abstinence. Muslims abstain from food, drinks (including water), and intimate physical/sexual relations for the period for which they observe fast. Fasting takes place during daylight hours, which means a Muslim who is fasting this year could go without food or water for over 16 hours a day.

The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid ul Fitr. The day Eid falls will depend when the new moon is sighted.

The Muslim Council of Britain: Ramadan 2024 Guide is a great resource to learn more about the meaning and significance of Ramadan, and contains guidance for communities, workplaces, educators and colleagues of Muslims. It also contains advice and signposts resources for Muslims who are observing Ramadan.


Top tips for creating an inclusive culture during Ramadan

1: Remember everyone is different and don’t make assumptions

Don’t make assumptions about how your colleagues might be engaging in Ramadan. Some Muslim staff may not be fasting. Some staff who don’t engage in prayers throughout the year might be fasting and attending daily prayers throughout Ramadan. Some staff may want to work through their usual lunch break and finish a little early; others may take regular breaks throughout the day. Be mindful of different needs, be as flexible and accommodating as you can. Different people observe in different ways, and no one should be judged or questioned about their choices.

Image Credit: Ash Ahmad, Changing Mindsets 

2. Be flexible

While not all colleagues will be engaging in Ramadan in the same way, there are some common challenges which can be easily addressed by having open conversations and being flexible.

Annual leave:

Many colleagues will want to take time day off to celebrate Eid al-and the end of Ramadan. Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the Moon. Ramadan begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon which means the dates vary. This year, Ramadan is expected to end on Tuesday 9th April 2024, depending on the sighting of the moon, but the exact date won’t be known until a few days before. In practice, this means colleagues may need to make short notice leave requests.

Managers - Where possible, try to be flexible and accommodating with these requests, while being mindful of the capacity of your school or service. Avoid scheduling team meetings etc around the expected date, in the knowledge that colleagues may not be available at short notice.

Muslim colleagues – let your manager know you in advance if you are planning to request time off for Eid, so they can be prepared for a last-minute leave request. Schedule your appointments accordingly so you won’t be pulling out of commitments at the last minute.

Fasting and prayer:

Fasting will inevitably have an impact on energy and productivity levels. In addition, going to bed later and getting up early for meals and prayers will also affect sleep patterns. Consider this when planning events or project deadlines. Try to avoid events based around food (team lunch, for example) or evening events, as evenings are dedicated to eating, prayers, and community gatherings.

Some staff may benefit from starting or finishing work earlier; more frequent shorter breaks instead of a longer lunch break; working from home more often. In operational roles, where shift work is more common, consider making allowances for Muslim colleagues to take breaks at different times, especially if they are on shift during sunset when they break their fast. If your job involves physical exertion, be aware of health and safety implications.

These are conversations for staff to have with their managers to agree what will be both supportive and workable within the team.

3: Create an open, inclusive culture

Don’t wait for staff to come to you. Don’t assume that you will know which of your staff and observing Ramadan, or that they will feel comfortable asking you for support. Don’t wait until you have a Muslim colleague in your team to start thinking about how to create an inclusive environment.

Take steps to create a more inclusive, open culture. Even if no one in your team is fasting, there’s a good chance you will be working with colleagues from other schools or services, or with students who are observing Ramadan. Share resources (like this one!) to raise awareness of what Ramadan is, why it is important and how it impacts out staff and students. They will have a better understanding of how to support staff and students they work with. This opens the door for more open conversations and a more inclusive environment, where Muslim colleagues can feel confident speaking to their colleagues and managers.

Talk to your staff! Ask them how you can be supportive, remembering that everyone will have a different approach to their faith. Building open relationships with your staff will create an environment where they feel safe to discuss their needs with you.

Some managers may be nervous about being seen to give ‘special treatment’ to Muslim colleagues during Ramadan. Indeed, managers should take care that they do not place unreasonable extra burden on other workers during this time. However, do remember that at Loughborough University we have flexible working policies which means that many staff are already entitles to work flexible hours or work from home. They may make use of this more during Ramadan, in the same way a parent may use this more during the school holidays. Raising awareness and creating a culture which considers everyones needs will help to mitigate any misunderstanding or resentment between colleagues.

Ramadan at Loughborough University

Prayer Rooms on Campus

The University Chaplaincy provides provide a place where students and staff are welcomed to reflect, explore and express faith and spirituality. It is a place to pray, to meditate and to meet others. It also offers help with spiritual, ethical and moral concerns. Chaplains of various faiths are available to anyone irrespective of their religious or spiritual beliefs. 

During Ramadan, the University Chaplaincy and LSU Islamic Society are working together to trial 24/7 access to the Prayer room and ablutions in EHB, for Muslim students, staff, and tenants of the University. 

Access is by swipe card only, via the Chaplaincy door in EHB square. Please ensure the door is closed behind you. In case of any concerns about the security of people or the space, please immediately call University Security 01509 222141 or 0800 526966 (Emergencies).  

For any further information, or to speak to a chaplain, please contact (This email will be monitored during the Easter break.)  

Interfaith Iftar Meal

The Chaplaincy is hosting an Interfaith Iftar Meal on Monday 18th March 6:30-8:30pm, to mark the breaking of fast for the day for Muslims and raise money for the Loughborough Trussell Trust Foodbank. This is an interfaith event for students and staff to attend, socialise and meet new people. Interfaith Iftar Meal | Loughborough Online Store (  

In the lead up to the event chaplaincy is also challenging students and staff to take part in a fundraising challenge for the Trussell Trust; ‘Can you last a Muslim fast’ whereby on the 18th March participants will fast from food and drink along with other optional fasting additions as guided by Islamic practices. You can sent up a fundraising page Loughborough Area Foodbank - JustGiving and get going raising money! If you do decide to take this challenge on, please let them know so they can celebrate your fundraising efforts and add your amount to their grand total. 

Eid Celebratory Lunch

REACH staff network is hosting an Eid celebratory lunch on Thursday 18th April 2024 12-2pm. EID 2024 Celebratory Lunch | REACH Staff Network | Loughborough University (