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5-day banking week on the horizon for Indian banks

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Transition to a shorter work week?
Banks in India, which currently operate on the first and third Saturdays, may soon adopt a five-day work week, closing on all Saturdays and Sundays. This adjustment follows successful negotiations between the

Indian Banks Association

(IBA) and the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, culminating in the 9th Joint Note signed on March 8, 2024.

The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) includes a wide array of members such as public sector banks, private sector banks, foreign banks with branches in India, cooperative banks, regional rural banks, and all-India financial institutions. The total number of employees working in the banking sector is estimated to exceed 1.5 million.
As of now, every scheduled and non-scheduled bank is required to remain closed on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Besides these designated Saturdays, banks continue to operate on the first, third, and fifth Saturdays.

Government approval awaited
The new schedule, treating all Saturdays as official holidays, awaits government sanction. “The revised working hours will be effective after notification by the government,” states the confederation. The change, subject to governmental consent, would see banks observing weekends off in alignment with Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
“The five-day workweek is the norm globally, and it was just a matter of time before India adopted it too,” said a senior banker, who chose to remain anonymous. “This move will help improve the quality of life for

bank employees

and bring the banking sector in line with international standards.”
Salary adjustments for bank employees
In addition to altering operational days, the agreement includes a 17 per cent annual salary increment for bank employees, marking an additional expenditure of about Rs 8,284 crore for public sector banks. This salary revision, retroactive from November 2022, will positively impact approximately 800,000 bank workers.
Potential implications for customers
The shift to a five-day week may affect customers accustomed to banking on Saturdays. However, the proliferation of digital banking tools like mobile banking, ATMs, and internet banking continues to provide alternative avenues for managing bank-related tasks outside traditional banking hours.
Operational details still pending
While the exact new daily working hours remain to be confirmed, reports suggest an extension of the workday by 40 minutes, from 9.45am to 5.30pm. Bank customers and employees alike are advised to stay informed about upcoming changes to ensure smooth transitions in their

banking routines

and work schedules.
Anticipated effects and implementation
The banking community awaits the official government endorsement for these proposed changes. The adoption of a

five-day banking week

represents a significant shift in

India’s banking sector

, aiming to align with global banking practices while addressing employee welfare and operational efficiency.

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