Religion and belief

The increasingly cosmopolitan nature of UK society means that employers are often presented with situations in which an understanding of religion and belief is required.

Such knowledge will help employers avoid discrimination against particular groups, for example, in devising dress codes that permit the wearing of items of significance in a particular religion. It will also achieve fair solutions that balance the demands of different groups in the workplace, for example, in setting holiday arrangements which take account of religious festivals as well as the needs of those with other commitments.

We provide information on the major religions and belief systems which may be most often encountered in the UK workplace. We also provide information about the impact that they are likely to have on aspects of employment, including: festivals, holidays and leave requirements, prayer times and requirements, dress codes, and food and drink.

Our objective is to give both line managers and HR practitioners a better understanding of the religion or belief of their colleagues, so that they can, where practical, accommodate their needs at work. It may also help in identifying possible areas of difficulty and minimising negative impacts where an organisation’s policy or its business needs do not permit such accommodation.