Maintaining staffing levels during religious holidays

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Issues can arise when numerous employees ask for time off to observe religious festivals such as Diwali or Eid, which are not public holidays

Chloe Themistocleous is an associate at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. As she explains, transport firms need to be aware of the desire of staff to take time off for religious festivals. But what happens if a firm has a preponderance of staff from a given religious background? How should it handle holiday requests? Can a firm recruit selectively to balance the religious background of its staff?

With a number of different religious beliefs and their festivals, employers can find themselves inundated with holiday requests from employees. Issues can arise when numerous employees ask for time off to observe other religious festivals, such as Diwali or Eid, which are not public holidays and where the firm – through necessity – remains open or fully operational. The problem may be particularly exacerbated if a given time of year clashes with an unexpected series of other staff absences. How can employers ensure that they balance the needs of the business against the requirement to treat employees fairly and lawfully? […]

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