Money & Banking

Covid impact: UFBU demands reduction in business hours at banks

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on April 15, 2021

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has requested the finance ministry to reduce the business hours of banks, bring in five-day week, and allow hub banking in a bid to break the Covid-19 transmission chain and protect bank employees and their families.

Sanjeev K Bandlish, Convenor, UFBU, in a letter to the Debasish Panda, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, said: “As was implemented last year, there is a necessity to restrict physical banking for next 4-6 months. Banks may be advised to reduce working hours (say from 10am to 2pm).

“Similarly, banking should be restricted to 5 days in a week, to break the chain. This would cut the exposure of bankmen and the customers to a great extent without impairing services.”

Pitching for hub banking, UFBU suggested that instead of opening all branches at multi-centres, numbers may be restricted in such a manner that banking facilities can be extended at a few select branches, obviating the necessity to open all and expose bankmen and customers to the risk of infection.

UFBU is the umbrella body of nine trade unions in the banking sector.

“We call upon you to instruct all the banks to deploy minimum possible staff/officers at branches/offices. Measures like working with 1/3rd of staff strength, work from home, should be implemented for next 4-6 months. Staff/Officers to be called on rotation so that exposure is reduced,” said Bandlish.

UFBU sought exemption from duty to employees with existing comorbidities, pregnant employees/officials, persons with disabilities (Divyangjan).

“Considering the nature of work, coming in contact with hundreds of customers every day, bankmen carry higher risk. Having considered as Frontline Covid Warriors by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, we call upon you to initiate measures to provide vaccination to all bankmen,” said the UDBU Convenor.

UFBU sought fine-tuning of insurance policy in Banks. In this regard, Bandlish said several bank employees and officers have succumbed to COVID and over a lakh have contracted infection.

“There are many instances where the bankmen have not only suffered physically, but they have been harmed financially as entire expenditure charged at hospitals had not been reimbursed.

“We urge upon you to issue suitable instructions to insurance companies to fine tune their policies to ensure that bankmen are not out of pocket for getting treatment at hospitals,” said the UFBU Convenor.

UFBU wants Covid-related expenditure to be brought under exemption clause of Income Tax and compensation to family of diseased bankmen.

As bank employees come in contact with hundreds of customers every day, they carry higher risk.

“Having considered as Frontline Covid Warriors by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, we call upon you to initiate measures to provide vaccination to all bankmen,” said UFBU.

Published on April 15, 2021

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