Bank unions, IBA agree to five-day work week; proposal will need government nod

Banks currently are shut on the second and fourth Saturday of every month


Waiting for the weekend so that you can go to the bank and do pending work? Soon, that won't be possible as banks in India are set to transition to a five-day work week.

Banks currently are shut on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Now, if the Union government approves the new proposals put forward by bank unions, banks will remain closed every Saturday and Sunday.

The Indian Banks Association (IBA) and bank officers unions recently concluded deliberations around wage settlement. The proposal of five-day work week also found a mention in the joint note that was signed by them.

"Paving the way for five-day work week, the joint note recognises all Saturdays as holidays, pending government notification. The revised working hours will be effective after notification by the government," according to the note issued by All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC).

Earlier, public as well as private sector banks used to work half day on all Saturdays and had holiday only on Sunday. The Centre had notified that from September 1, 2015, the second and fourth Saturdays of each month would be holidays for the banks. All other Saturdays, including the fifth Saturday, are full working days.

Now, bank employees will get a holiday on all the Saturdays of the month. Given that the government holds substantial stakes in public sector banks, this move will also have to be approved by the ministry of finance.

The officers of state-owned lenders and the IBA have also agreed to a "substantial increase in salary" following the latest negotiations.

The total quantum of wage revision increase (payslip component) is more than Rs 8,284 crore, or 17 per cent. The new wages are effective November 1, 2022, according to the AIBOC.

"The new pay scales have been constructed after merging dearness allowance corresponding to 8,088 points and additional load thereon. With the applicable load of 3.22 per cent, the effective load on the basic pay post-merger of dearness allowance at 30.38 per cent is 4.2 per cent," it said.

Bank unions had written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February urging the implementation of five-day work week.

"In the settlement that was concluded in 2015, it was agreed that the second and fourth Saturdays of the month would be observed as bank holidays. You are well aware of the increasing stress under which the workforce in the banks are doing their job. Hence it would be in the fitness of things that the remaining Saturdays may also be declared as holidays," Sanjeev Bandlish, convenor, United Forum of Bank Unions, said in the letter.

The bank unions have agreed with the IBA that there will be no reduction in the total banking hours for customers or for the employees and officers due to these additional holidays. That may mean that bank timings from Monday to Friday may have to be revised, with employees working for additional time on weekdays.

But, people, especially the salaried, who only have time to go to banks on Saturdays, may be inconvenienced if the five-day work week is implemented. 


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