Money & Banking

RBI, SBI and Central Bank allow‘work from home’ for employees

Mumbai/ Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 20, 2020

With the coronavirus outbreak getting more entrenched in the country, the financial sector, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India (SBI), have sprung into action, allowing work-from-home facility for employees, thereby cutting down travel and decongesting offices. This move is aimed at ensuring that the risk of exposure is minimised and business continues without any interruption. Barring the top management (Governor, Deputy Governors and Executive Directors), departmental heads and senior officers at the central and regional offices, a majority of the central bank’s employees will be working from home.

Senior RBI officers at crucial departments such as Financial Markets Operation, Internal Debt Management, Payment and Settlement Systems, Information Technology, and Currency Management are expected to work as usual.

The RBI decision has come in the wake of the Maharashtra Government, on Thursday, announcing that only 50 per cent of the government staff will attend office on a given working day. The State, on Friday, further cut down the government staff presence in offices to 25 per cent.

SBI has issued an office order, whereby every staff member at its corporate centre and its establishments will work on alternate days. What this means is that on any day, 50 per cent of the employees in the corporate centre and its establishments will attend office, while the remaining will work from home. This arrangement will be reversed on the next working day. Those working from home have to be available on telephone and email at all times and be available in case of exigency.

Essential support

When the heads of departments draw up roster of duty for all employees, India’s largest bank said it must be ensured that essential support functions such as IT services, digital services, data centre operations and treasury continue uninterrupted.

SBI said its instructions will come into effect from March 21 to April 4 or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The bank said separate instructions are being issued for other administrative offices/ centralised processing centres/ branches.

Central Bank of India has decided to implement work from home for staff at central office and zonal administrative offices / training colleges/ centres. When it comes to all verticals at the central office, the staff will be working from home on alternate days. General Managers/ vertical heads will be dividing the staff into two groups, preferably in equal numbers. This is to ensure that work flow is not hampered.

These instructions, which will come into effect from March 21 to March 31, will also apply to staff at zonal administrative offices / training colleges/ centres.

Staff ‘on duty’

Employees of both SBI and Central Bank working from home will be treated as ‘on duty’ and no leave will be debited. Indian National Bank Employees’ Federation General Secretary Subhash Sawant said the front line staff at branches are highly vulnerable to exposure. Hence, bank managements should do everything to protect their interests.

All-India Bank of Maharashtra Employees’ Federation General Secretary Devidas Tuljapurkar said: “We do understand that banking services are important public utility service and has to continue to operate and extend services.” He added that it is essential that bankers be given all protective gear so that they continue to serve customers without any disruption

Published on March 20, 2020

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