20 October 2005

Ramadan Working Hours

During Ramadan working hours are officially reduced for everyone, although that is not necessarily the reality for most. And there are endless discussions and complaints.

The theory is that during Ramadan working hours should be shorter to allow fasting Muslims time for their prayers and to prepare for Iftar (breaking of the fast, a big social event every evening after sunset), as well as addressing the fact that someone who abstains from drink and food all day is less productive.

To keep things simple working hours are officially reduced for everyone for the whole fasting month, although in reality this results in a) lots of people still working long hours because their bosses don't allow proper breaks, and b) complete chaos where opening times are concerned because some shops let their workers have Ramadan work hours and some don't and some close because Ramadan daytime shopping is much reduced.

Then there are complaints of slacking because of the shortened hours, which are countered by fasters by pointing out that they have to get up before sunrise for Sohoor (last meal before the fast begins) and need to sleep in the afternoon to make up for getting up at 4 am.

Unfortunately for Stuart it's all pretty academic. The European and US businesses he interacts with have a hard time understanding that Friday is a holiday here, never mind remembering when Ramadan starts.

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