Let us have a look at the working condition prevailing in some of the developed
countries around the world for the better understanding of the issue. The
maximum full-time working hours in Japan are eight hours per day and 40
hours per week. If an employee works six to eight hours in a day, they are entitled
to a 45-minute break; if an employee works eight hours in a day; they are entitled
to a one-hour break. An employee is entitled to one holiday per week unless they
otherwise receive four or more holidays within every period of four weeks.
Overtime pay must be provided for any work over eight hours per day, over 40
hours per week or on holidays. It is to be noted that there is no real difference
between the employees and officers in Japanese working environment and all
enjoy the same rights with regard to the restriction on working hours and weekly
offs. The only difference lies in the classification of employees; one is seatrain,
which can literally be translated as real employees and the second is a
shokutaku, which is a contract employee. The major Japanese banks are
reviewing their working patterns and introducing such systems as
telecommuting and shorter working hours to help care givers and parents with
young children get the time they need at home. In Japan, one would be
encouraged if he or she is caught napping at work. They have actually coined a
word for it “inemuri,” which means to be asleep while present at work. While
sleeping at work, one earns the tag of being inefficient in other parts of the world,
but Japanese believe it to be sign of hard work. The only governing rule for
inemuri is that it requires the person to remain upright while dozing off.
Chile: A 45 hour work week in Chile begins on Monday and ends on Friday, and
Saturday and Sunday constitute the weekend. Malls, supermarkets, and stores
operate on Saturday, and in towns and cities most of them open also on Sunday.
Colombia: In general, Colombia has a 48 hour work week. Depending on the
business, people work five days for about 9.6 hours per day, typically Monday
EU: In Europe, the standard full-time working week begins on Monday and ends
on Friday. Most retail shops are open for business on Saturday. In Ireland,
Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the former socialist states of Europe, large
shopping centres open on Sunday.
Bulgaria: The work week is Monday through Friday, eight hours per day, forty
hours per week. Most pharmacies, shops, bars, cafés and restaurants are open on
Saturday and Sunday.
Czech Republic: In the Czech Republic, full-time employment is usually Monday
to Friday, eight hours per day and forty hours per week. Many shops and
restaurants are open on Saturday and Sunday, but employees still usually work
forty hours per week.
Denmark: Denmark has an official 37 hour work week with primary work hours
between 6:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. In public institutions, a 30 minute
lunch break every day is included as per collective agreements, so that the actual
required working time is 34.5 hours.
Estonia: In Estonia, the work week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. Usually
a work week is forty hours.
Finland: In Finland, the working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. A
full-time job is defined by law as being at least 32 and at most forty hours per
week. In retail and restaurant occupations, among others, the weekly hours may
be calculated as an average over three to ten weeks, depending on the employment
France: The standard work week is Monday through Friday. Shops are also open
on Saturday. Small shops may close on a weekday (generally Monday) to
compensate workers for having worked Saturday. By law, Préfets may authorise a
small number of specific shops to open on Sunday such as bars, cafés,
restaurants and bakeries, which are traditionally open every day but only during
the morning on Sunday. Workers are not obliged to work on Sunday. France has
35 hour work in a week.
Hungary: In Hungary the working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday.
Full-time employment is usually considered forty hours per week. The forty-hour
work week of public servants already includes lunch time.
Ireland: Ireland has a work week from Monday to Friday, with core working hours
from 09:00 to 17:30.
Italy: In Italy the 40 hour rule applies: Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00, with a
one hour break for lunch. Sunday is always a holiday; Saturday is seldom a work
day at most companies and universities, but it is generally a regular day for
elementary, middle and high schools.
Latvia: Latvia has a Monday to Friday work week capped at forty hours.Shops are
mostly open on weekends, many large retail chains having full working hours
even on Sunday.
Poland: The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in
total per week. Large malls are open on Saturday and Sunday, many small shops
are closed on Sunday.
Romania: The work week is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in
total per week. Shops are open on Saturday and Sunday.
Spain: The working week is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in
total per week. Most shops are open on Saturday mornings and many of the larger
shopping malls are open all day Saturday and in some cities like Madrid, they are
open most Sundays.
Sweden: In Sweden, the standard workweek is Monday through Friday, both for
offices and industry workers. The standard workday is eight hours, although it
may vary greatly between different fields and businesses. Most office-workers
have flexible working hours, and can largely decide themselves on how to divide
these over the week. The workweek is regulated by Arbetstidslagen (Work time
law) to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
United Kingdom: The normal business working week is from Monday to Friday
(35 to 40 hours depending on contract).
Friday is the Muslim holyday when Jumu’ah prayers take place, and a number of
countries have a Thursday–Friday weekend. Those countries are presently:
For Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the working week is Saturday to Wednesday.
Following reforms in a number of Arab States of the Persian Gulf in the 2000s, the
Thursday–Friday weekend was replaced by the Friday–Saturday weekend. This
change provided for the Muslim offering of Friday Jumu’ah prayers and afforded
more work days to coincide with the working calendars of international financial
- Algeria (2009)
- Bahrain (2006)
- Iraq (2005–2006)
- Jordan (2000)
- Kuwait (2007)
- Libya (2005–2006)
- Northern Malaysia (only in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah)
- Mauritania (2005–2006)
- Sudan (2008)
- Syria (2005–2006)
- United Arab Emirates (2006)
- Lebanon. The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40
hours in total per week.
- Pakistan follows the standard international 40-hour working week, from
Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being weekends.
- Tunisia – The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40
hours in total per week.
- Turkey – working above 45 hours is overtime and the employer has to pay
1.5x of the hourly wage per hour.
Israel: For most Israelis, the workweek begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday
or Friday midday to accommodate Jewish Sabbath, which begins Friday night.
The standard workweek is 43 hours per week. A workday is 8 hours except when
special cases by law.
Mexico: Mexico has a 40 hour work week running from Monday to Friday.
However, it is a custom in most industries and trades to work half day on
Saturday, which is the day workers get paid. Shops and retailers open on
Saturday and Sunday in most large cities.
Mongolia: Mongolia has a Monday to Friday working week, with normal
maximum time of 40 hours.
Nepal: Nepal follows the ancient Vedic calendar, which has the resting day on
Saturday and the first day of the working week on Sunday.
New Zealand: In New Zealand the working week is typically Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Russia: In Russia the common workweek begins on Monday and ends on Friday
with 8 hours per day.
In our country:
As per one study, the average life expectancy of a bank officer is only 63 years
whereas for others the figure stands at 68.3 years. In the last 5 years, there has
been a spate of cases reporting the death of bank officers while in harness. It is a
very tragic development. Bank officers do not live longer, only because of the work
pressure coupled with no virtual weekly offs available to them, while in service.
Now, let us look at some legal rights. The Factories Act provides provision on
weekly rest. Workers are generally entitled to at least 24 hours of weekly rest on
the first day of the week, i.e., Sunday. The weekly rest period is reckoned as a
paid time. Workers may be required to work on weekly holiday; in this case,
he/she is entitled to the substitute holiday three days before or after the usual
weekly holiday. Even in the case of holiday substitution, workers must be given a
weekly holiday in every 10 days. If an organization is exempted from the
provision related to weekly holiday and workers are not granted their weekly
holidays, an equal number of compensatory holidays have to be granted within 2
months. The Weekly Holidays Act, Shops and Establishments Act, etc. also state
in the same tune for the workers and the employees. Although the Bank Officers
do not come under the purview of the Regulations & Acts which make the weekly
off compulsory like Factories Act, Weekly Holidays Act, Shops and
Establishments Act, etc, the Articles enshrined in the Human Rights is applicable
to one and all the people. The Article 24 of Human Rights deals with Right to Rest
for each and every human being. They are commonly understood as inalienable
fundamental right “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or
he is a human being,” and which are “inherent in all human beings” regardless of
their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin, their employment
agreement and service rule or any other status. They are applicable everywhere
and at every time in the sense of being universal and egalitarian in the sense of
being the same for everyone. Hence, the bank officers cannot be an exception to
this article simply because of the fact that their service rule obliges them to attend
the office 24/7 without any weekly off. They are human beings and cannot be
expected to work like a machine and hence cannot be exploited by virtue of their
service rules. Moreover, the declared holiday on the second and fourth Saturday
of every month has been made as part of the agreement arrived at during the 10
bipartite wage settlement between the IBA and bank employees’ unions last year.
This has been earned after a long struggle and bargaining with the IBA and the
govt. and we should not let it go at the whims of the management and thereby
toying with the lives of our officers. In this context, we would also like to draw
your learned observation to the IBA Letter No. CIR/HR&IR/665/2015-16/2270
dated March 11, 2016 addressed to all the Organization heads who are the
parties to the Bipartite Settlement. In the said letter, the IBA clearly stated to
avoid calling the officers for duty on Sundays/holidays as far as possible. But, it is
our misfortune that even the letter issued by the IBA is also not given the due
consideration and the officers are summoned for duty even at the drop of a hat by
the bank management.
In the light of the revolutionary changes that have taken place as regards the
technology initiative, such as Core Banking Solution, Telebanking, Internet
banking, Kiosk Banking, Mobile banking, Cash Deposit Banking, any time
anywhere banking and also the banking expansion through a large ATM network,
there is a strong case for immediate consideration of demand for introduction of a
5 day week. This will give a big boost to Digital India Campaign and we can spent
some time for a massive digital financial literacy campaign.
This will also reduce global warming to an extent. Further, 5-day week will provide
good health to bank employees and reduce expenditure on electricity and fuel.
In our country all central government establishments, RBI, forex department,
Parliament, State assemblies, Treasury, IT/BT industries observe a 5-day week.
All IT companies spearheaded by Infosys and WIPRO adhere to 5 day week.
Foreign Banks in India also follow 5 day week. Majority of State Government
offices remain closed on the second Saturday of the month. Many State
Governments follows 5 day week. Therefore banking industry switching over to 5-
day week will not make much difference to routine business, rather it will increase
productivity, reduce expenditure and give employee satisfaction.
So there is total justification for 5 day week to be introduced in the Banking
Industry following the footsteps of RBI which has defined 8 hours work, five day
week and flexible working hours.