Five-Day Work Week For Bank Employees(PSBs) From Mid December

There are indications that employees in public sector banks (PSBs) might witness a salary increase ranging from 15 to 20 percent and the introduction of a five-day work week by mid-December, according to sources cited by the Financial Express (FE). The ongoing 12th bipartite settlement discussions between bank unions, associations, and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) are reportedly in their final stages.

Remarkably, this negotiation marks the first time in its history that the proposed wage hike is commencing at 15 percent, and the final increase is anticipated to fall within the range of 15 to 20 percent, as per IBA sources. The declaration of the five-day work week is expected to coincide with or promptly follow the announcement of the salary raise by either the Central Government or the IBA.

The current wage agreement for PSB employees lapsed on November 1, 2022. Subsequently, negotiations have been ongoing between the IBA and the unions representing bank employees to establish a new wage agreement. Notably, the finance ministry has indicated that the wage revision and alterations in workdays will extend to regional rural banks as well.

In July 2020, approximately 850,000 bank employees experienced a 15 percent salary increase following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the IBA and the United Forum of Bank Unions, resolving a three-year-long debate on wage revision.

Another source revealed that a final meeting between the IBA and bank unions is imminent, during which both parties will sign a MoU. This document will then be submitted to the finance ministry for ultimate approval.

Regarding the proposed five-day work week, if implemented, it would result in branch closures on weekends. To compensate for lost working hours, employees may be required to extend their work hours during the week. Business hours are expected to commence earlier on weekdays and conclude 30-45 minutes later than the current working hours. While customers can utilize automated teller machines (ATMs) for cash withdrawals or transfers, the processing of cheques may be affected during these two closed days.

Despite the potential challenges, sources view the move towards providing bankers with a five-day work week as a positive step, aligning with existing practices in insurance firms, state governments, and the central government.