Respecting Ramadan At Work: Who Gets It?

Posted on September 1, 2008


During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and constantly aim to better themselves through heightened spirituality and intense prayers, abstaining from any form of personal gratification. Particularly in the last 10 days of this holy month, some Muslims need to stay up late or even all night for special prayers.

Who ‘Gets It’?

Microsoft, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers (No. 12 in The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®) and Ford Motor Co. (No. 5) are among leading employers providing flexible hours during the month of Ramadan to accommodate their fasting employees, along with floating holidays and diversity calendars that flag major cultural and religious celebrations.

During Ramadan, American Express’ Middle East and North Africa offices adjust their business hours to accommodate their Muslim employees. Work starts at 9 a.m. and ends as early as 2 p.m. to allow Muslim employees to go home to engage in prayer and Iftar (breaking the fast). For safety reasons, shorter working hours make sense in the construction and other heavy-duty industries during Ramadan. Reduced work hours are not the end-goal though, as Muslims also consider work as a way to express their worship. American Express is No. 23 in the Top 50.

The development of information resources (with corporate-education programs, intranet, company newsletter, bulletin boards, interfaith resource networks) for employees is a very effective and growing practice that helps improve knowledge and awareness. [more]

Posted in: Islam