Ready, steady, goof 2

December 5, 2003

To state that staff are "not entitled to time off" for religious observance is too bold. The new regulations against discrimination make no mention of time off to attend religious festivals. However, the Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service recommends that "an employer should sympathetically consider such a request where it is reasonable and practical for the employee to be away from work, and they have sufficient holiday entitlement in hand". The Equality Challenge Unit's guidance echoes this.

Similarly, it is true that institutions are not required to monitor sexual orientation. Our guidance says consultation with staff representatives and anonymous staff surveys would be best, and that some form of monitoring would signal to tribunals that institutions are taking their responsibilities under the regulations seriously.

Erica Halvorsen
Equality Challenge Unit

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