Supporting staff who are fasting

During a staff member’s time with the University of Plymouth they may spend some time fasting depending on their religion/belief. In the Bahá'í faith for example, there is a nineteen day fast each year, in Judaism there is a 25 hour fast during Yom Kippur and Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. A form of fasting or restrictive eating/drinking is practised by almost all major religions.

Christians are currently marking Lent and in the evening on Sunday 5 May, Ramadan begins and there are many staff across the University who will fast during this time. We have a duty of care to ensure we do all we can to support our colleagues during a period of fasting. In light of this, and the numerous practices of fasting across many religions, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team have created guidance for employees and line managers on how best to support staff who are fasting. The guidance is not specific to one particular faith but rather it offers general guidance on how to best support your colleagues.

“I found this guidance to be comprehensive and yet concise. It encourages all to respect practices and persons of all faiths and none. I definitely did find I learned new aspects of several faiths and would recommend managers, teaching staff and personal tutors to read it, as apart from staff, students also fast." - Dr Feisal Subhan

During a period of fasting, members of staff may be concerned about the possible impact on their health, as well as seeing your GP we would strongly encourage any staff member with concerns to contact the University’s Occupational Health Team.

As with all world religions, staff members may follow their faith differently so whilst some Christians may take part in a form of fasting during lent, others may not. This is particularly the case for any members of staff who may not fast due to health conditions; for example, a Jewish person may follow all aspects of their faith except fasting but instead may just limit their fluid and food intake. It is important to not make assumptions based on someone’s faith, but rather be led by them and ask how best you can support.

For further advice and support or if you have any concerns then please do not hesitate to contact the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team on equality@plymouth.ac.uk