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What is Passover?

In Jewish tradition, Passover celebrates God’s liberation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.  It is one of the most widely observed Jewish festivals.

When is Passover?

Passover is tied into the Jewish calendar but typically takes place in March or April, beginning at sunset on Friday 3 April in 2015. It lasts for 7 or 8 days.

What do people do during Passover?

Practices and observances throughout Passover vary according to the branch of Judaism concerned, and the beliefs of the individual.

Some Jews may wish to observe the Passover by not working on the first, second, seventh and eighth days of Passover. This can be a challenge in some years where up to 13 such days may fall during the week.

Passover usually involves avoiding ‘chametz’, typically wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats that have not been cooked within 18 minutes after first coming into contact with water.


  • Observances start at sunset of the previous day, meaning that some flexibility to start and leave work a little earlier may be appreciated by employees. pass
  • Employees may ask for additional leave for religious reasons, there is no legal requirement to to authorise this requests but planning ahead can help. Annual leave or unpaid leave casn also be a consideration. It is unadvisable to offer paid special leave for such time off requests because an employer needs to ensure they do not discriminate in favour of a particular religion.
  • Making staff aware and understand Passover and other religious festivals can be helped by posting information on staff notice boards or newsletters etc.
  • A portion of annual leave may be used by employees wishing to observe the ‘no work’ rules of some Jewish holidays. Where the leave timings can be accommodated.
  • Passover may offer an opportunity for closer team relations and teamwork – for example by raising awareness of avoiding chametz at a catered team event.