Are employers required to provide a prayer room for staff?

Employers are not specifically required to provide a prayer room. However, if a quiet place is available, and allowing its use for prayer would not cause problems for other workers or for the business, the employer should agree to it being used for the purposes of religious observance. Where an employee’s religion requires observance of particular prayer times during the working day, this should be respected wherever possible.

Willingness to accommodate the religious needs of employees is likely to be in the employer’s interests, as it will help maintain the loyalty and goodwill of the workforce and reduce the risk of a discrimination claim on grounds of religion or belief.

If the employer has no room that can be allocated for use as a permanent prayer room, it should discuss with employees how else their request might reasonably be accommodated. For example, it might be possible to use a meeting room or some other private space as a temporary prayer room at specified times of the day.

As with any potential discrimination, its best to seek HR advice before responding to a request of this nature.