Religious Observances

Eid al-Adha is one of the two annual Eid celebrations in the Islamic calendar. It is often known as the feast of sacrifice or the Greater Eid. It is widely considered to be the holier of the two Eids.

Religious Observations for Employers

This year it is anticipated to begin on the 11th August 2019. However, the exact date of Eid is dependent on the sighting of the moon, so be prepared to receive requests for time off at short notice.

Requests for time off should be dealt with under your normal leave of absence process. However, requests need to be considered fully, including the practicalities of accommodating such requests. Employers should not refuse requests without consideration merely because it is a busy time or because others have taken time off.

Employers should ensure that they have a policy in place that covers such requests. PACT HR has a Leave of Absence Policy which incorporates time off for religious observance.

Time off is at the discretion of the employer. However, for teachers’ the terms and conditions allow for up to 3-days with pay for attendance at a religious ceremony or observation of religious festival which the teacher is under a moral obligation to attend or observe. The festival of Eid would fit this description for practicing Muslims. For support staff their terms and conditions do not cover this and any time off is likely to be unpaid unless otherwise agreed by the Governing Body.

Employers are not legally obliged to grant requests for leave on religious grounds but some flexibility can improve staff morale. Discussion and planning of this in advance is likely to minimise the impact of any such requests.

Some Head teachers in School’s with a large number of Muslim pupils may want to consider attendance levels when granting leave of absence for staff.

Ultimately, just like any leave of absence – time off is at the discretion of the Head and is dependent on the needs of the School.

Employers should be mindful that making allowances for observance to employees of one religion, but refusing to provide equivalent benefits to employees of a different one, will amount to direct religious discrimination and is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Religious Observances in United Kingdom in 2019
(Please note this list is not exhaustive)

Date Day Name Type
11 Aug Sunday Tisha B'Av Jewish holiday
12 Aug Monday Eid Al-Adha Muslim
15 Aug Thursday Assumption of Mary Christian
15 Aug Thursday Raksha Bandhan Hindu Holiday
23 Aug Friday Janmashtami Hindu Holiday
1 Sep Sunday Muharram/Islamic New Year Muslim
2 Sep Monday Ganesh Chaturthi Hindu Holiday
10 Sep Tuesday Ashura Muslim
29 Sep Sunday Navaratri Hindu Holiday
30 Sep Monday Rosh Hashana Jewish holiday
4 Oct Friday Feast of St Francis of Assisi Christian
7 Oct Monday Dussehra Hindu Holiday
9 Oct Wednesday Yom Kippur Jewish holiday
14 Oct Monday First day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
20 Oct Sunday Hoshana Rabbah Jewish holiday
21 Oct Monday Shemini Atzeret Jewish holiday
22 Oct Tuesday Simchat Torah Jewish holiday
27 Oct Sunday Diwali/Deepavali Hindu Holiday
1 Nov Friday All Saints' Day Christian
2 Nov Saturday All Souls' Day Christian
10 Nov Sunday Milad un Nabi (Mawlid) Muslim
8 Dec Sunday Feast of the Immaculate Conception Christian
23 Dec Monday First Day of Chanukah Jewish holiday
25 Dec Wednesday Christmas Christian
30 Dec Monday Last day of Chanukah Jewish holiday

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