Diwali – What All Employers Should Know

Diwali and Accountancy

Diwali is a five day religious festival mainly celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists across the world. In 2020, Diwali begins on the Thursday 12th November and the main celebrations take place on Saturday 14th November. 

Hinduism alone is the third largest religion in the UK, represented as 1.5% of the population. As a business owner, you are likely to employ staff members who will be celebrating Diwali this week. In fact, you may even be celebrating yourself (in which case scroll on), but if the festival is not familiar to you, what do you need to know?

Many families celebrate the Diwali as the sun sets, so there is unlikely to be many requests for time away from work. But you should be aware that religion, or belief, is covered by the Equality Act 2010. So, you should accommodate requests where possible. 

Some employees may fast on Diwali, so you should be mindful when labour intensive work takes place. Also, many mark the festival by eating only vegetarian food – so having a choice of delicious veggie options served at the canteen is a great idea. If food needs to be brought in from home, it may need to be stored or heated separately from other food. Are you able to think of a practical way to support this?

You can never eat too many sweets during Diwali! Your staff and business colleagues may appreciate a covid-safe sweet basket or a hamper of dried fruits as a thoughtful gift. Edible gifts should be individually wrapped or bagged during the pandemic. 

On the day after Diwali – known as the Hindu new year, many use the day to look at their financial affairs. As an employer (and an accountant!) you many want to support your team with this. 

How can my accountant colleagues celebrate Diwali?

It’s good practice to share dates and information about religious festivals, such as Diwali, to team managers – to allow for forward planning. 

Although large events and gatherings will not take place this year, the National Maritime Museum is hosting a free virtual event and sharing more ideas to celebrate. Visit Leicester is hosting its first virtual Diwali Day celebration and is inviting you to share your Happy Diwali video messages. And check out Digital Diwali 2020 brought to you by Edinburgh city council. Let your teams know about this and encourage them to get involved. 

Diwali is a positive, optimistic and joyful festival – a celebration of good over bad, light over dark and knowledge over ignorance. Why not embrace this and include all of your teams by celebrating together? 

“Let’s all celebrate this happy and positive festival together. It’s a brilliant example of how we can come together as a diverse and accepting community. Stay safe and have fun!”

Garry Howling, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd

We’d love to see your photos and videos of Diwali celebrations. Please join us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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