Work-Restricted Religious Holy Days

University Policy on Work-Restricted Religious Holy Days

Federal law and university policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious belief. It is the policy of the University of Louisville to accommodate students, faculty, and staff who observe religious work-restricted holy days.

Students: Students who observe work-restricted religious holy days must be allowed to do so without jeopardizing their academic standing in any course. Faculty are obliged to accommodate students’ request(s) for adjustments in course work on the grounds of religious observance, provided that the student(s) make such request(s) in writing during the first two (2) weeks of term.

Deans and department chairs must investigate and resolve student complaints arising from alleged faculty failure to make reasonable accommodations under these guidelines.

Faculty & Staff: Faculty and staff supervisors are directed to accommodate requests for absence for work-restricted religious holy days, unless it would cause an undue hardship. Further, whether the holy days are work-restricted or not, supervisors of faculty and staff should be sensitive to requests for accommodations. As stated on the Human Resources website, Holidays Policy, PER 4.03, under “Related Information,” supervisors are encouraged to be reasonable when considering the importance of religious holidays to employees. Every effort should be made to allow employees to observe religious holidays. This may be done by allowing employees to substitute a designated holiday for a religious holiday, or by using personal leave, vacation leave, or leave without pay.

Calendar

The calendar that follows was developed to broaden the University community’s recognition of its diverse religious perspectives. The listing is not exhaustive of all major holy days in every religious tradition and some variances of dates will exist due to regional differences. It was developed based on the calendar posted by the National Conference for Community and Justice as well as other calendars or information posted on the web by the various religions.

Questions:

Questions regarding the calendar or the University’s policy may be directed to the following:

For faculty-related questions, contact Kitty De Voogd, katherine.devoogd@louisville.edu

For staff-related questions, contact Donna Ernst, donna.ernst@louisville.edu

For student-related questions, contact Angela Taylor, angela.taylor@louisville.edu

Work-Restricted Holy Days 2023-2024

DEFINITION OF Religious Work-Restricted Holy Day: a recognized denominational sacred or holy day that is observed by persons or groups who are required – through a set or system of religious beliefs, laws/doctrines, tenets, canons or theology – to restrict or limit work and/or physical or mental activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something; toil; labor. This definition may include academic endeavors (e.g. examinations, classroom activities and research, or out-of-classroom learning experiences).

There is a distinction between religious holy days, sectarian holidays, and ethnic holidays and festivals which are routinely celebrated in the United States of America, i.e. Christmas, New Year, etc., and religious work-restricted holy days which are based upon religious tenets, laws, and/or doctrine, i.e. Yom Kippur. In the Jewish faith, Saturday (beginning at sunset on Friday) is a work-restricted Sabbath.

Individuals who observe and/or follow these religious work-restricted holy days are not permitted to engage in day-to-day occupations, work, or attend school, including taking examinations or performing other routine commitments.

Eid al-Adha Jun. 28-29
Krishna Janmashtami Sep. 6-7
Rosh Hashanah Sep. 15-17
Ganesh Chaturthi Sep. 19
Yom Kippur Sep. 24-25
Sukkot Sep. 29-Oct. 6
Shemini Àtzeret Oct. 6-8
Simchat Torah Oct. 7-8
Birth of the Bab Oct. 16
Baháúllah’s Birthday Oct. 17
Birthday of Guru Nanak Nov. 8
Diwali Nov. 12
Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali) Nov. 12
Martydom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Nov. 24
Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Jan. 20
Naw-Ruz Feb. 19-20
Norooz Feb. 19-20
Maha Shivaratri Mar. 8
Ramadan (30 days) Mar. 10 - Apr. 9
Ramakrishna Jayanti Feb. 15
EÍd al-Fitr Apr 9 - 10
Vaisakhi/Baisakhi (Birthday of the Khalsa) Apr. 13
Rama Navami Apr. 17
Passover (8 days) Apr. 22-30
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Jun. 10
Shavuot Jun. 11-13
Eid-al-Adha Jun. 17

Non Work-Restricted Holy Days 2023-2024

Religious, sectarian, and ethnic observances (non work-restricted): Sunday is widely observed as a Sabbath and day of worship for many faith traditions. In the Jewish faith, Saturday (beginning at sunset on Friday) is a work-restricted Sabbath. Regulations governing observance for worship depends on regional customs. Observances/practices vary from culture to culture within and across denominations. There are no work-restricted holy days within the Christian faith by tenet. By custom, in the United States, Easter and Christmas are considered to be non-work days.


The following religious observances are NOT work-restricted by definition but may involve a special worship or observance in which a member of the faculty, staff or student body may feel compelled to participate. As stated earlier, faculty and supervisors should be sensitive to requests for accommodating these special observances. The final decision on excused absence for these days rests with the supervisor and can be appealed to the next higher level.

Paryushan Begins
Sep. 11
Paryushan Ends Sep. 18
Navaratri Oct. 15-23
Consecrating the Guru Granth Sahib Oct. 20
Diwali Nov. 12
Bodhi Day Dec. 8
Hanukkah Dec 7-15
Christmas Dec. 25
Ash Wednesday Feb. 14
Purim Mar. 23-24
Good Friday Mar. 29
Easter Mar. 31

Note: For additional information and observances please see Work-Restricted Religious Holy Days [PDF].

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