16th March 2022
It is anticipated that Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, the Hijri calendar, will commence on 2nd April this year. After a couple of years of remote working and safety restrictions in place due to Covid, this article is intended as a gentle reminder for best business practise during Ramadan and an update on the relaxed Covid restrictions which directly relate to Ramadan, so that both your business and your employees can celebrate this special time of year appropriately.
Ramadan can differ across the region
Ramadan lasts for a period of 29 or 30 days, depending upon the sighting of the moon. In the lead up to Ramadan, a special moon sighting committee will search for the crescent of the new moon each evening. Once it is spotted, Ramadan commences the following day, so be sure to check social media and reliable news sources for confirmation. The same process is repeated at the end of the month for the end of Ramadan.
If your business has suppliers and customers in other Muslim countries, it is worth noting, that Ramadan may not necessary mirror the dates in the UAE. It is not unknown for other countries to call Ramadan either a day earlier or later. It will depend upon when the moon is spotted in those countries. So be aware, particularly if you work across multiple Muslim countries, especially in the GCC.
Businesses Close for Eid Public Holiday
Immediately after Ramdan, Eid Al Fitr commences, which is a three-day Islamic festival to celebrate the breaking of the fast. Muslims can again eat during daylight hours. This is usually a public holiday, so businesses will be closed. It is expected for Eid to commence on Sunday 1st May this year, but the government will usually announce specific days for the public holiday in the week prior.
Reduced Working Hours During Ramadan In The UAE - It's The Law
The UAE Labour Law states that working hours should be reduced by two during the month of Ramadan. This applies to ALL employees, whether they are Muslim or not. Further, it does not mean, that employees get their salary reduced. It is saddening to see each year that companies continue to break this law, especially as this is such a 'giving' month.
This year, Ramadan working hours for public sector employees will be Monday to Thursday from 9am until 2.30pm and from 9am until 12 noon on Fridays. Furthermore, government entities can grant flexible hours and remote working for up to 40% of their employees on Fridays.
For the private sector, the two hour reduction has been confirmed by the Ministry of Human Resources And Emiratisation (MOHRE), yesterday. Offices typically working 8:30am until 5:30pm will usually cut their hours to 8:30am until 3:30pm throughout Ramadan.
Eating Whilst At Work During Ramadan
Everyone is banned from eating in Public during daylight hours throughout Ramadan. Therefore, non-Muslim employees who usually eat during a break need a discreet place to do so as it is inappropriate to eat at a desk surrounded by other colleagues. Therefore, businesses should provide a suitable place for non-Muslims to be able to eat and drink if they wish to, out of sight of their fasting Muslim colleagues.
Tips For Business Meetings During Ramadan
It is recommended that meetings are held in the morning when fasting individuals are likely to be alert and focused.
Drinks and snacks are not usually offered unless the attendees are all non-Muslim.
Working lunches are a no, no.
Businesses often take advantage of Iftar (the early evening meal where Muslims break their daily fast) to entertain employees, suppliers, clients and important business associates. However, do bear in mind that Iftar is a special meal where many Muslims like to break their fast with their families.
Modest Dress Code During Ramadan
Whilst any non-Muslims should always respect the Islamic culture and dress accordingly, Ramadan is a month when it is expected. For women, this means keeping shoulders covered; dresses and skirts should be at least knee length; and, body-hugging and revealing outfits should be avoided during Ramadan.
Business Giving During Ramadan
Businesses can provide financial support to the community by sponsoring an Iftar tent (this requires a special permit from Emirates Red Crescent) or donating directly to Emirates Red Crescent.
Employees can register to be volunteers through the UAE's national Volunteer's programme. Once successfully registered, they can apply to for numerous volunteering opportunities listed on the Volunteers website or apply to work on one of the Emirates Red Crescent programmes.
Business gifts for employees, suppliers, clients and special business associates are usually given at this time. Suitable gifts would include fruits, dates or hampers.
Welcome visitors to your office with a unique Ramadan wreath decoration in your reception area and gift your employees a decorative Ramadan countdown calendar. In stock and made to order options, available. Check out the Ramadan Decorations at Gateway Hand Crafted.
Get prepared now and order Eid decorations and gifts for your business at Gateway Hand Crafted:
Eid wreath for your reception area
Customized Eid Mubarak pom pom hoop wreaths in your corporate colours - decor gifts for your clients and employees
Ferrero Rocher Chocolate holder corporate gifts
Personalised sheep hanging decorations for your staff
Gateway Group Of Companies
The Gateway Group Of Companies helps organizations to mitigate the risks of getting licensed to do business in the UAE. We were established back in 2014 to provide no-nonsense, transparent and well communicated services, as a result of witnessing the troubles companies encountered when doing their company formation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Establishing a presence in the UAE doesn't need to be difficult, providing you engage the right expertise at the outset. We are just like you - we have invested our own money to establish our businesses in the UAE, so unlike a sales team, we understand and can empathize with the anxieties and risks of doing business overseas and the implications of making the wrong decisions. We are best positioned to provide, on-the-ground, practical advice from first hand experience. Hence, our services are designed to give you full control of your business, protect your assets and keep your profits. After all, this is exactly what we want for our own businesses too.
Our core values are Honesty, Trust & Integrity.
Gateway Group Of Companies
☎️ +971 600 567562
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & Strategic Advisor to the Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE
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