To submit a cost-benefit analysis; cite 24/7 access to services via ATMs, Net, mobiles

Executives from State-owned banks seem determined to prove to the Finance Ministry that a five-day work week is feasible in the banking sector.

While the ministry turned down bankers’ earlier feelers to this end, this time round, the bankers intend to knock on its doors with a cost-benefit analysis for a five-day week.

The ministry has contended in the past that the cause of financial inclusion would suffer with a shorter week, but bankers feel that in this age of modern technology, a bank is accessible to customers 24/7 via alternative delivery channels such as ATMs, the internet, mobile commerce and business correspondents. Financial Inclusion refers to mainstream banks ensuring all sections of society, in general, and vulnerable groups, in particular, have access to financial products and services at an affordable cost, in a fair, transparent manner.

According to a top public sector bank official, the Indian Banks’ Association will carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the five-day work week pattern and the same will be placed before the ministry for its consideration.

A trade union official wondered why bank employees should be denied the benefits of a five-day week when Central Government employees have been enjoying them for nearly three decades.

To increase efficiency in administration, the Union Government had introduced the five-day week in 1985, increasing daily working hours during the five days by an hour.

According to RBI data, there were 11,75,149 employees working in 169 scheduled commercial banks in the country as of March 2012.

UK view

Outlining the benefits of a five-day week to employees in a note, the UK’s labour department said they could have sufficient rest, time with family, and time for further studies and personal interests.

When it comes to employers, the note said the five-day work week would enhance a company’s efficiency, reduce absenteeism, enhance the enterprise’s competitiveness, and retain talent.

(This article was published on April 18, 2014)
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