How to get off work on the Sabbath
The Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. It is a day to gather and fellowship with like-minded believers. At the same time, it is a day to rest from work. The first and obvious question with observance of the Sabbath is how you can get off work from your employer. We live in a fallen world. The greater part of humanity does not acknowledge or observe the Sabbath. This means we have to request or make arrangements to have Sabbath off from work. There are some ways to do this.
The first and easiest way is to see if you can trade shifts with someone else. Let’s say a friend or co-worker wants off on Sunday to go to church. You want off on the Sabbath, so you offer to work their Sunday shift as long as they agree to work your Saturday. This is just an example –there may be someone at work who wants another day of the week off like Monday or Tuesday. The key to this first strategy is to find someone at work and trade shifts.
Always remember, the Sabbath ends at sunset. This means you can work from Friday up until sunset and then Saturday after sunset. You may be able to re-arrange your schedule and get the Sabbath off that way. You can always try to find another position at your company that would allow you such freedom or look for a different shift within your same position.
If these strategies do not work, then you will need to talk to your supervisor. We are blessed in America in that we have laws that protect our religious beliefs. You can meet with your manager or boss and tell them that it is your religious conviction to have the Sabbath off from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. In this discussion, you can offer to make up the work on other time – say Sunday afternoon – or perhaps come in earlier or work later on a different day of the week. In the summer months, sunset is later. You can offer to work later on Friday in that season. In the winter, sunset is earlier. You can offer to come on Saturday after the sun sets.
When you talk to your employer, convey how important it is that you work for their company and that you enjoy working for them. As an example, you can say something to the effect of “Company ABC has been really good to me over the years. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the staff here, and I would love to continue to do so. I have a religious conviction where I need to have Friday sunset to Saturday sunset off of work to observe the Sabbath. I am willing to work earlier or later on other days to make up any hours, even if it means working on Sunday. I further desire to stay apart of the team here at Company ABC.”
If for some reason you cannot get through to the employer in any of these ways, then it would be time to find a new job! The phrase in this conversation is religious conviction. If Sabbath is merely a preference or is not absolutely necessary for you to be free from work, then you will have a hard time making any legal case.
This is a web link to help you understand your legal rights to have the Jewish Sabbath off from work:
If you are ever discriminated against because of your religious beliefs, call the local EEOC – the equal employment opportunity center – or a local lawyer to file a law suit. There are laws that protect your religious liberties in this nation.