News that Pagan police officers are given special dispensation to take eight Pagan holidays a year will no doubt get HR professionals wondering how they should allocate annual leave for staff that do not follow the Christian calendar.
But tailoring holidays for followers of many different faiths might be easier said than done. While pagan employees will want time off around Halloween and the summer solstice, those of the Hare Krishna faith follow the lunar calendar, meaning the celebration of Janmastami, which involves plenty of chanting and falls on a different day every year.
Meanwhile, agnostic employees may not know what holiday to take, whereas atheists would perhaps feel there is no need to take time off for religious reasons.
In addition, employers may find themselves under pressure to set up associations to cater for the different faiths and beliefs within their workforce. For example, Pagan police officers have asked Home Office chiefs to provide them with a Pagan Police Association.†
It is thought there are more than 500 Pagan police officers in the UK. Some call themselves heathens and worship Norse gods, including the god of fertility, Freyr, and the one-eyed Odin.