Proposal for 5-day work week for banks: No banking on Saturdays if notified

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Bank employees may soon work a five-day week i.e., Monday to Friday. The United Forum of Bank Employees and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) have made headway in their negotiations, with the association agreeing in principle to a five-day workweek in exchange for longer hours, according to a March 1, 2023 news report in the Times of India (ToI).According to section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the government will be required to declare every Saturday a holiday, S Nagarajan, general secretary of the All India Bank Officers’ Association, told ToI. He further stated that because the agreement had been in place for a while, it was not subject to the wage negotiations.

However, “the government has a say because it owns the public sector banks. The RBI must also accept the plan because it determines the timing of most interbank activities,” ToI stated.

Employees will work an additional 40 minutes per day from 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to ToI sources. The suggestion comes at a time when stock markets are planning to enhance trading in order to sync with Western markets, stated ToI.

According to the ToI news report, “Bank staff currently work on alternating Saturdays, which has caused considerable confusion among consumers who need to know if it is a working Saturday. Bank unions have long advocated for a five-day work week. Demand has increased since LIC approved a five-day week proposal ahead of its IPO.”

According to bankers, mobile banking, ATMs, and online banking have become the key means for customers to access their bank accounts over the years. However, a subset of customers remained reliant on bank branches. Banks are increasingly transferring clients to self-service by installing cash deposit machines and passbook printing devices, ToI stated.

According to a CNBC Awaaz news report, the Ministry of Finance is likely to give an approval on this soon. “Earlier, it was reported that Indian Banks Association (IBA) and the United Forum of Bank Employees (UFBEs) have agreed in principle to a 5-day work week, but for which the total working hours have to be increased by 40 minutes per day,” it stated.

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