Managers should be aware that members of staff may make requests for leave in order to observe religious or spiritual festivals and observance days. Mindful of the Needs of Others, the University's annual calendar of religious and diversity dates, details the festivals and periods of fasting for the six religions reflected in the UK Census.
Managers should sympathetically consider such requests and may consider altering working arrangements in order to enable staff to participate in such festivals or observance days. Aside from approving annual leave this may include allowing for unpaid leave, and/or flexible working arrangements.
Members of staff should inform managers of potential leave dates sufficiently in advance to prevent disruption and support the continuity of operations.
It should be noted that the dates of some religious festivals are only approximate as they are based on the lunar calendar; they may change from year to year, or according to different doctrines, local customs or pronouncements. An example of when an exact date may not be known in advance is the Muslim festival of Eid. Although the approximate date is known months in advance, the specific date on which the festival is observed will depend on the sighting of the moon and the practice of the particular member of staff's community. This could mean that individuals may only find out the actual date of the festival on the evening before the day when it is to occur. While it may not be normal practice to allow leave at such short notice, members of staff should give an indication that they wish to take one of the possible two or three dates off work to allow for both flexibility and operational continuity.