Come January, the Reserve Bank of India will become a tad flexible. No, not with the banks and institutions it oversees, but with its own staff.

The RBI plans to offer flexi-timings, MNC-style, for its 3,000-odd officers in the rank of Manager and above in phases. The central bank has about 18,000 employees across the country.

In keeping with the adage ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, the central bank seems to want its employees to have a work-life balance.

Flexi-time does not mean that the officers grappling with the nitty-gritty of regulation, supervision and inspection of banks and non-banks and crafting the monetary policy walk in and out of office as they please.

According to an RBI spokesperson, during core time bands of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. officers have to be in office. Also, they will have to put in the mandatory minimum eight hours of work a day.

By allowing them the flexibility, the RBI hopes productivity will improve and officers will come up with bright ideas for the various problems, including the slowdown, rising inflation, limited fiscal and monetary room for policy action, and the rising bad debts of banks.

Flexi-time is to ensure employees give their 100 per cent at workplace by allowing them to complete household tasks either before clocking in or after office hours.

With the banking regulator turning ‘accommodative’ towards its employees, there is some food for thought for other regulators in the financial system — capital markets, insurance, and pension funds. Maybe, even banks can think of giving similar flexibility to their employees who do not deal with customers.

ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 8, 2012)
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