Bank employees to get five-day work week soon

If approved, it would mean that bank branches will work only for five days in a week, that is, Monday to Friday.

After almost a year of continuous representations and petitions by various bank employee unions, the possibility of implementing five-day banking is now closer to becoming a reality.

Highly placed sources revealed that during a meeting held on July 28 by the Indian Banking Association (IBA), which represents the management of Indian banks, the industry demand to declare all Saturdays as bank holidays was accepted. The IBA has forwarded this proposal to the Ministry of Finance for approval.

If approved, it means that bank branches will operate only five days a week, from Monday to Friday. However, the daily work hours at branches may be extended by 45 minutes.

While the IBA has yet to respond to an email seeking confirmation, top executives from both private and public sector banks confirmed that the proposal to declare Saturday a bank holiday was approved during the last IBA meeting. The matter has now been elevated to the finance ministry for final approval.

Bankers are optimistic about the proposal’s ratification by the finance department, as informal discussions with the ministry indicate a positive response to the bankers’ union request.

The banking industry believes that the need for six-day banking on select weeks isn’t as compelling as before, given that over 70% of daily cash transactions are conducted digitally. With branches functioning more as customer redressal or facilitation centres, the majority of banking transactions, including account openings, are now carried out digitally. The need for customers to physically visit branches has reduced significantly, making five-day banking a viable option.

Presently, bank branches operate on the first, third, and fifth Saturdays of each month, with the second and fourth Saturdays designated as holidays. Until 2015, banks were operational six days a week, including all Saturdays.

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