Monday, April 22, 2024

Demand for five days of work at banks hits speed bumps, likely to take time.

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The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and public sector banks (PSBs) unions have reached an in-principle agreement to plan for a five-day work week, but various issues need to be addressed before making any announcement. Negotiations have been conducted between IBA and the United Forum of Bank Unions, but a final proposal has not yet been sent to the Ministry of Finance.

Discussions with the Reserve Bank of India and the private sector, as well as the inclusion of rural and cooperative banks, are necessary before the government issues a notification regarding the five-day working week, according to an expert quoted by The Financial Express (FE). The banks must ensure that the change does not cause any delay in cheque clearing or other bank functions. Additionally, PSBs need to ensure that their business is not affected if private banks decide to work on Saturdays.

Currently, banks are closed on Sundays and the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. Public sector bank unions have been demanding a five-day week for some time, arguing that there is confusion among the public about which Saturdays banks are closed. If approved, the government will need to release a notification under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act declaring all Saturdays as holidays. However, the timeline for the change is unclear.

Implementing the change would require banks to increase their working hours by 40 minutes per day to ensure there is no loss of work. Currently, banks open at 10 am and close at 5 pm. After the change, banks would function from 9:40 am to 5:20 pm for five days a week.

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