Despite the consent of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) at the meeting with the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), there is no clarity yet on a five-day work week for banking employees, according to people familiar with the development.

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“Things are still tentative and informal. IBA will consult with the government and then tell us. I would say no concrete development so far,” said one of the people quoted above on condition of anonymity.

No circular yet

At the meeting on February 28, 2023, there was a discussion on having uniform office hours from 9.50 am to 5.30 pm on all working days, cash hours from 10 am to 4 pm and customer services till 4.30 pm.

It was agreed at that time that the introduction of a five-day banking week would be considered, the forum said.

However, none of the participating organisations has made any written circular on the five-day work week proposal said another person.

“Generally we get minutes of the meeting but we have not gotten so far. We are still confused whether the pact has been signed between UFBU and IBA or not,” said the person.

Long-pending demand

Five-day work week is a long-pending demand of Indian bank employees, who started working on alternate Saturdays around eight years ago. Bank unions have been demanding since 2015 that they be given time off on all Saturdays and Sundays.

In the 10th Bipartite Settlement signed in 2015, the IBA agreed after approval by the RBI and the government that second and fourth Saturdays would be holidays, according to the United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine national-level bank unions.

The issue was taken up during the 11th Bipartite Settlement talks but could not be resolved.

IBA and Bank unions negotiate salaries once every five years under the bipartite agreement.

Other organisations

Bank unions stepped up their demand for five-day work week after several other organisations followed the model. For instance, employees of Life Insurance Corporation of India switched to a five-day work week on May 10, 2021.

Recently, the National Stock Exchange extended trading hours for interest rate derivatives till 5 pm, according to an official circular. The change in timing will come into effect from February 23.

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The trading window is now six hours and 30 minutes, stretching from 9 am to 3:30 pm. The decision to extend the time till 5 pm is intended to converge the trading hours with the underlying market timings, the exchange said.

Source: Will bank employees get five-day work week?