With Ramadan now underway and millions of Muslims now observing a month of fasting, prayer and reflection, many me be wondering if they can request flexible working.

While this is an important time in the Islamic calendar, most Muslims will still attend work while they fast, making this time more difficult.

This is why an employment rights expert has cleared up a few questions related to this time of year.

What is Ramadan?

The National: (PA) Ramadan is an Islamic holy month where Muslims dedicate time to praying and reflection(PA) Ramadan is an Islamic holy month where Muslims dedicate time to praying and reflection (Image: PA)

Ramadan is an Islamic holy month that changes every year as it is based on lunar cycles.

During this month, Muslims won't eat or drink between dawn and sunset in what is known as fasting.

This is very important during Ramadan as Muslims believe it allows them to devote themselves to their faith and to get closer to Allah.

Can workers request more flexible working arrangements while they observe Ramadan?

Speaking with the Mirror, an employment relations expert at the HR consultancy firm Hamilton Nash, Jim Moore, said that employers should be more flexible because of the "physically and mentally challenging" aspects of fasting.

He added: "This could involve letting employees adjust their hours, allowing for more flexibility around breaks during the day, or allowing some work from home.

“These don't have to be permanent arrangements, but will send an important signal to staff from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.“

Moore suggested that workers should give as much notice as possible to their boss in writing about their need for flexibility.

He added: “An employee has the right to request flexible working arrangements if they have 26 weeks' service, although the Government is proposing to make it a right from day one.

“The employer has three months to respond to the request, and while they are not obliged to agree to the request, they will need to justify a refusal.“

Religion is also one of the protected characteristics under the 2010 Equality Act, meaning employees must not be treated less favourably because they are fasting.

Do employees have the right to flexible breaks for praying during Ramadan?

Workers are entitled to one 20-minute break every six hours under the Working Times Regulations Act of 1998

However, employers could suggest allowing for break times to be split into smaller ones so that employees can have time to pray.