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Q: We have an employee who has requested time off for 11 Jewish holidays this year. Must we always agree to an employee taking time off for religious holidays? A:No, you do not. The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief, but there’s nothing that stipulates an employer must agree to days being taken for each and every type of religious holiday requested. Employers are obliged to consider accommodating such requests but in doing so the request must be balanced against the needs of the business at the time. It is a good idea to have a written policy on how you will deal with requests for time off and it is common practice not to allow, say, more than one person off in a department at any one time.

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