Do Muslims get paid during their prayer time at work?

By Link
United States
July 3, 2010 1:14pm CST
Or someone from any other religion for that matter? This isn't about hate or anything. I just saw this post on another site and a man was asking if it was fair that is Muslim co-workers get paid during their prayer time but he doesn't and has to use time from his normal breaks to pray before meals. I'm just curious if this is something that is just happening to him or if maybe other companies allow Muslim workers to remain on the clock while they have prayer? If companies are allowing Muslim workers to stay on the clock then I would have to say they should let everyone else of any religion who needs daily prayer time to do so. I know I would like to be able to take 5-10 minutes during the day for some meditation and prayer instead of waiting until the end of my work day when I am at home. It would help me relax and deal with any stress that came up out of the day and I'd feel refreshed and ready to go back to work and also I would have time for a prayer and reflection. But, people could then take advantage of this and the company wouldn't feel like they could do much because everyone would be claiming it is their religious right. Plus, what about people who don't pray in their religion or people who don't have religion or spirituality? They will have to continue working with the normal breaks hours, that doesn't seem fair. Now, I don't mind if Muslims (or anyone else) has to go pray, but to make it fair for all those people should not still be on the clock. What do you all think? For me this experience is similar to one I had when I was younger and started working at a bowling alley. The other two people I worked with were older than me and both of them smoked. Like every hour or so they took a cigarette break for over five minutes. Plus bathroom breaks and we would get one 10-15 minute break. So these people were getting a lot more break time than I was and I would have to work by myself when they were out smoking. I started taking a cigarette outside, and just lighting it so I could say I needed a smoke break too. I didn't think it was fair that they were getting paid to be outside and smoke. (our normal 15 minute breaks were paid, and running to the bathroom was paid because it would take more time clocking out then back to the bathroom then back to clock in then back to the work area). Anyway, I'm asking if Muslims or others get paid while they are praying at work and what you think about the situation?
9 responses
@Memnon (2172)
9 Jul 10
In the UK, yes, they are paid. It does cause irritation to many others though, regardless of religion. For example, if you are a smoker, you are often monitored about your breaks, so many feel that they are discriminated against. I also have a feeling that my employer would object to me taking breaks for the number of services I would wish to attend if I were a devout Catholic. Please do not think that I am anti Muslim, but I do feel that employers favour their rights over other religious groups.
• United States
10 Jul 10
Well that seems unfair if they (or any others) are getting paid but other people aren't getting more paid breaks too. I realize prayer time may not necessarily feel or be viewed like a "break" but everyone's religious or spiritual time or prayer is different. But I think maybe they are just afraid of people pulling the race card or saying they are being anti-Muslim. Like when Black people always claim they are discriminated against (I'm part Black but I have never felt like I have been discriminated against because of my race).
@Memnon (2172)
10 Jul 10
Totally agree with you. It annoys me further that there are people who would accuse me of being racist by saying this. I accept that there is racism, but by trying to apply that term to reasonable (at least I think I am) people, they are likely to feed the sentiment.
@RobtheRock (2485)
• United States
4 Jul 10
I've worked at places where Muslims were allowed some time to pray. I don't see a problem with it. I think it depends on the job because this was a newspaper where I worked and there were so many different kinds of breaks that it didn't matter.
• United States
4 Jul 10
Matter of fact, that's a good idea you have. All workers should have a short period to meditate. If you're not religious, you can meditate. The others can pray. I think Christians should spend more time praying. That's one of the two things I admire about Muslims. I think they are serious in their prayer.
• United States
10 Jul 10
I agree with you, and even if you don't want to meditate exactly you could just sit and rest. Kick back for a few minutes and have some reflection. Short breaks can actually make you feel more refreshed than a much longer break. And if you had like 3 2 minute breaks where you just sat and breathed and took a break, you could get more refreshing periods during the day.
@magtibaygom (4863)
• Philippines
4 Jul 10
What's the time of prayer for Muslims by the way? It it 4 o'clock in the afternoon? 5 o'clock? What time is it? Assuming your company uses DTR or Daily Time Record (in other companies they call it punch card, time card, whatever), when you hire employees, you agreed to pay them straight, from their time-in up to their time-out. Let's say in a regular 8 hours a day work period, if their time-in is 8 o'clock, then their time-out is 4 o'clock in the afternoon. If the prayer of the Muslim falls on 4 o'clock, then they are out of your company's jurisdiction. They are free to do their things without getting paid because they have already timed-out. But if their time-in is 9 o'clock in the morning, with the regular 8 hours a day work period, the time-out will be 5 o'clock in the afternoon. If the Muslim's prayer time is 4 o'clock in the afternoon, then it falls within the agreed work hours (paid hours). In some companies, they are very strict when it comes to work you cannot do anything aside from your work. But if you are a considerate employer, then you can give your Muslim staffs some special treatment like being able to do their prayers even if they fall within the "paid hours" of 9 AM to 5 PM.
• United States
7 Jul 10
Okay I already understand that, my question is would they get paid during their prayer time during regular work hours or would they be required to punch out on the time clock for an unpaid break just like anyone else taking an unpaid break for whatever reason? That was what the question was.
• Philippines
8 Jul 10
Yeah. I've mentioned that above. It depends on the agreement of the hiring person and the person being hired. I mentioned above that some employers agreed to pay their employees straight from the time they punch in to the time they punch out regardless if they take a break in the middle. So, if you are the employer, you may give your Muslim employees some favor or consideration.
• India
4 Jul 10
I think the time Muslims take to pray is not more the time one would take to spend time in loo. Besides, no office says one should work nonstop without taking a break. It is more important to finish the work assigned to you than appear working all the time and still not finishing your work. The constitution guarantees the right to practice one's religion. If they object to pray during office time then it would violate ones constitutional rights.
• United States
8 Jul 10
I agree everyone has the right to their religion, and it would be unfair if a workplace refused them to pray at the office when that is part of their religion, but are they doing it during PAID time or do they clock out first? That was just my question. Because if they were being allowed to do it on paid time plus have their regular breaks, then I too would want paid time for prayer and meditation during my work day which would leave me feeling spiritually connected and also physically refreshed to return to work. If they (or anyone else of any other religion who is praying at work) are clocking out first and then praying, then that is fair and I would clock out if I wanted to pray. Do you see what I'm saying? Thank you for your insight and answer!
@momof3kids (1899)
• Singapore
4 Jul 10
I do not consider myself a good Muslim but I know many Muslims who take advantage of their prayer breaks here. I got angry when I heard a non-Muslim taxi driver commented about this but I quickly realised that maybe Muslims here are bringing it to themselves. When I was working, I knew two other Muslims who were taking an awfully long time to do their prayers. Another colleague and myself were totally against them for doing this. We regarded them as being making the rest of the Muslims looked bad. When my colleague and i took turns to pray, we made sure that we took the shortest time possible. In our hearts we know that Allah is watching and good Muslims will always try to adhere to Islamic teachings without stepping on others toes. Unfortunately for that colleague of mine, I stopped working when my firstborn turned one so I did not know the ongoings for that taking-long-time-to-pray incident. Now I am a mom and I am teaching my children to be the best in their ethics according to Islam. I hope that you realise that Islam is not to be blamed but the shortcomings of some Muslims. And yes I was getting paid for the time I prayed at work but when possible we prayed at our lunch hour when the prayer time fell within and we prayed only once each day within our work hours. About smokers, I had the same situation take place at the same workplace. A female colleague from another department even complained that a promotion was cast because her male colleague happened to smoke same like the boss. And they went for smokers breaks together if you know what i mean. Just be happy that their lungs are turning rotten and you probably outlive them..lol!!
• United States
8 Jul 10
Thank you for your insightful answer! I was just using Muslims as an example because this is what was in the question the other person posted but no one that responded to him gave any insightful or intelligent answers. I do not think of people as reflecting on their whole race or religion. Everyone is different, I know that. I don't have a bad view of Muslims, I was just curious if this ever happened anywhere to anyone. Thank you for a good answer!
@denise36 (128)
• United States
6 Jul 10
I think the issue with Muslims is that they have a set day and time to pray whereas other religions do not. I am not a theologist and if I am wrong about other religions not having set days and times, please feel free to correct me. My belief system has meditation time but I can do that anytime. I know most Christians go to church on Sunday and possibly Wednesday evenings depending on denomination. I think allowing Muslims time to pray while at work is just a consideration we should make and show respect for their religion. I used to own a small video store and I would have to come in and cover the shift for a Muslim employee when he went to Mosque on Friday. It just is what it is. The smokers are an entirely different issue though. I am a smoker and was only allowed the same break's as non smokers at the last company I was with. That only seems fair. Then again, you could take solace in the fact that most of the smokers will probably die earlier because of the extra breaks. j/k
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
6 Jul 10
I think the complaint by the other person was not really due to his concern about the place he is working at. There could be other stronger underlying reasons behind the pay mask. The first thing that should be looked at is productivity. Does the productivity of the Muslim worker drops? In the majority of cases it does not. In some cases it increases. Muslims who pray tend to be diligent in their everyday tasks. The short break that they have tend to energise them. If a prayer break comes under scrutiny then other forms of breaks outside the official break times need to be examined closely. This has been pointed out by one responder before me. What about the times spent by employees gossipping, or exchanging their personal life? Or those who spend a long time in the washroom? The list is longer. Responsible employees know what their responsibilities are. Quick to complain about other employees is at the bottom of their list.
• United States
4 Jul 10
yeah definitely they get paid. If they were forced to log as on break(on their time cards) then the corporation/company would probably have a claim filed against them for not being and "equal opportunity employer", as the prayers must be in reason. Most places are pretty chill about that sort of thing. look at smokers, they NEED breaks, its ridiculous.
@ifa225 (11093)
• Indonesia
4 Jul 10
pray is someone's right. it is between their god and himself. even it is work, we have to do our pray. there is no excuse to not doing that. so like it or not if u hired a muslim, u still have to pay them.