NOTE ON FIVE DAY WEEK
Note on Five Day Week
The Demand for the introduction of Five Days Banking has already been place by all the Nine Unions vide their charter of demands. This demand was placed in the last wage revision as well.
This demand is based only on scientific practices prevailing across the countries.
The first company to introduce five day week was A New England Mill in America in 1908 and later the Ford Motor Company followed the same in 1926 and enhanced employee productivity with introduction of five day week. Today RBI works only for five days. Central Government employees work only for five days. And the same practice is followed by most of the State Governments as well. Almost all the IT Sector Companies like Infosys, Wipro, CTS, TCS, etc. work only for five days and so does the International financial system. Reduction of stress level amongst the employees is the need of the hour in today’s scenario and many study reports bear the testimony that there is improvement in performance after adequate rest and family get together. To a query raised in the Parliament regarding rumours that the Prime Minister wants to introduce six days week, the Minister of State for Personal Public Grievances and Pensions Mr. Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply that there is no proposal to change the present five day week for the employees of Central Government Ministries and Departments. Similarly the Cabinet Secretary, Shri Ajith Seth replied to Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, Staff Secretary that there is no such proposal.
As we are aware that a bank holiday in India is a public holiday which is declared specially for the Banks and other Financial Institutions. All public holidays are not classified as Bank Holidays. Bank Holidays are declared by Central/State Governments/ Union Territory under the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act, 1881. India is a multicultural and multireligious society and celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. So, in addition to the national holidays, many states and regions have local festivals depending on religious and linguistic demographics.
The Bank employees do not enjoy all the festival holidays as their counterparts in other govt. organizations do. Moreover, as we have seen that the bank employees and officers are very hard pressed; like for every govt. sponsored schemes launched by the govt., for every emergency like situation (as the present demonetization case), it is the bank employees and officers who are entrusted with the responsibility to handle the situation. Banking sector is reckoned as a hub and barometer of the financial system. As a pillar of the economy, this sector plays a predominant role in the economic development of the country As a pillar of the economy, banking sector plays a predominant role in the economic development of the country. Over the last ten years the banking industry has gone through some sweeping changes.
Transformation, Consolidation, Outsourcing are just some of the most prominent buzzwords that are used to describe major trends afflicting the banking industry. Moreover, expanding business activities of the private banks, re-entry of foreign banks, strict regulatory and disclosure requirements and increased minimum paid up capital requirements, modernization of Core Banking Systems, increased automation and up gradation of IT and development of new products have a significant impact on the banks employees and the officers. Workload beyond ones capacity, ambiguity in defining duties & responsibilities, lack of support from superiors, lack of authority to control resources, absence of autonomy in taking decisions, work life imbalance due to absence of restricted working hours and virtually no weekly offs, etc. are some of the sources of stress in the Banks which in turn affect the mental and physical wellbeing of employees and officers leading to increased dis-satisfaction level among them. We should also not forget the fact that one of the most important roles of a bank officer is to take correct credit decision. Unless they remain in stable physical and mental condition, it is more likely on their part to take incorrect credit decisions which will affect the bank’s financial health in the long run
Today in the Banking Industry almost 40% of the Employees and Officers are youth who look for good salary, perquisites and quality of life for whom five day week has become a passion. Without introduction of five day week, it will be impossible to retain good talent in the Banking Industry. The attrition rate is increasing day by day. Almost 20% of the award staff and 10% of the officers have left every year. The recent attrition rates across the banking sector bears the testimony to the same.
As per RBI report, 70% of the Banking transactions are handled by alternate channels of banking and the percentage is increasing every month. With
approximately 2, 00,000 ATMs and 3.0 lakhs Business Correspondents rendering service outside the Bank Branches, there are adequate alternate platforms to carry out the banking needs on holidays. Moreover, with large no. of Point of Sales (POS) terminals and debit cards / credit cards in operations the present day customers are at ease to carry out banking transactions on weekend.
Almost all the 11 crore accounts opened under the Jan Dhan Yojana are also issued with debit card. With the advent of Digital Banking platform in recent days, the customers are obile banking users with 10.00 crores transactions as on March 2017. All segment customers use internet banking now. We have Self Service Kiosks (SSK) for pass book printing, coin vending machine, new generation ATMs where cash can also be deposited and Cash Deposit Machine (CDM) which are available 24*7. The Cheque Truncation System is also working almost on all days and cheques are realised within one day whereas earlier it took upto 14 days for collection of a cheque. So by introducing five day week the customers are not going to be affected. Our experience on 7 day banking has shown that the customers are not interested to come to the branches on holidays. Wherever necessary branches are working on Sundays also and there are branches in Malls working 24 hours on rotational duty.
There are already companies which are trying four day work with three days off in other countries and billionaires like Carl Simon and Richard Bronson have suggested three days working day. Many studies have proved that the productivity increases if the employees/officers are provided with 2 day weekly off.
Let us further analyse:
The demand for five (5) day a week in the Banking Sector is a priority. It is based on scientific practices all over the globe considering health of the employees, productivity and environmental concerns. We put forward the following which explains and justifies the need. The ILO has passed many conventions on this issue, some of which are reproduced below:
C047 – Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935 (No. 47) Convention concerning the Reduction of Hours of Work to Forty a Week (Entry into force: 23 Jun 1957) Adoption: Geneva, 19th ILC session (22 Jun 1935) – Status: Instrument with interim status (Technical Convention). Preamble The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation, Having met at Geneva in its Nineteenth Session on 4 June 1935, Considering that the question of the reduction of hours of work is the sixth item on the agenda of the Session; Considering that unemployment has become so widespread and long continued that there are at the present time many millions of workers throughout the world suffering hardship and privation for which they are not themselves responsible and from which they are justly entitled to be relieved; Considering that it is desirable that workers should as far as practicable be enabled to share in the benefits of the rapid technical progress which is a characteristic of modern industry; and Considering that in pursuance of the Resolutions adopted by the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions of the International Labour Conference it is necessary that a continuous effort should be made to reduce hours of work in all forms of employment to such extent as is possible; adopts this twenty-second day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty-five the following Convention, which may be cited as the Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935:
Each Member of the International Labour Organisation which ratifies this Convention declares its approval of:
a) the principle of a forty-hour week applied in such a manner that the standard of living is not reduced in consequence; and
b) the taking or facilitating of such measures as may be judged appropriate to secure this end; and
c) undertakes to apply this principle to classes of employment in accordance with the detailed provision to be prescribed by such separate Conventions as are ratified by that Member.
How is work during the weekend regulated?
ILO Weekly Rest Conventions No. 14 (1921) and No. 106 (1957) require that each worker have at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest every seven days.
Whenever possible, the rest day(s) should be simultaneous for all employees of an undertaking and correspond with the traditions and customs of the
country. As noted above, Arab countries often choose the Friday, instead of the Sunday, as the rest day for the week. In China and Hungary, two days off are laid down in national laws.
In European Union (EU) member States, the EU Working Time Directive (93/104) entitles workers to a minimum of 24 hours of rest per week,
principally on Sunday, in addition to 11 hours of rest each working day (between shifts). In most countries, although only one day off per week is prescribed in national legislation, collective agreements or commonly accepted norms set the standard of a five-day week.
Following are the benefits of a 5 day work week:
1. Reduced fuel costs. Employees would have to endure the dreaded commute one less day each week, thereby saving money at the pump with
reduced fuel consumption.
2. Decreased absenteeism. On a six-day schedule, employees are forced to cram their one day off with personal errands, chores, games, and social
outings. By the time Monday comes around, there hasn’t been a minute of rest and employees are tired. So they call out of work. This wouldn’t
happen so frequently if employees had a second day to accomplish the work they have to do outside of office.
3. Increased productivity. It’s a well-established principle of productivity that workers become less efficient where no deadline looms. That’s why we’re more efficient in the week before vacation—we know we have to get it done by the time we leave. The same idea is transferable to a shortened
workweek. Employees are least productive on Saturdays so why not just eliminate them altogether?
4. Improved job satisfaction and morale. Satisfaction with what goes on in the workplace may be tied to what goes on outside of the workplace.
Employees who spend more time with family and friends, who have theflexibility of two days off, will return to work refreshed.
5. Reduced personnel turnover. Not surprisingly, #4 leads to #5. Happier employees tend to leave less often. If they like the job, they’re more likely to
6. Reduced energy costs. By closing for two, instead of one day each week, Banks stand to reduce substantial energy costs. These costs can be
7. Improved work-life balance. As a result of the added day, employees who work a five-day week will have more time to spend with their families and
8. Reduced traffic congestion. This potential effect may be seen largely on Saturday, which is the day most employers are converting to a non-working
The First Company to give 5 day week: So, who gave us the 5 day, 8 hours per day, work week? Was it really the unions; was it really higher regulations? No, the historical answer is that it was Heny Ford who gave us the 5 day, 8 hours per day, work week. Ford was tired of continuously
losing good employees, he was trying to increase employee retention and at the same time increase profits, so he basically doubled wages and implemented a 5- day work week, and in the process effectively invented the modern weekend. It is Henry Ford who is widely credited with contributing to the creation of a middle class in the United States. In addition, if you look at why Henry Ford did this, you will see that his reasons
had nothing to do with charity, and everything to do with increasing profits and dealing with the forces of competition.
In 1926 Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories for all of Saturday and Sunday. In 1929 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was the first union to demand a five-day work week and receive it. After that, the rest of the United States slowly followed, but it was not until 1940 that the two-day weekend began nationwide.
Actual work week lengths have been falling in the developed world. Every reduction of the length of the work week has been accompanied by an increase in real per-capita income.
In the United States, the work week length reduced slowly from before the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century. A rapid reduction took place from 1900 to 1920, especially between 1913 and 1919, when weekly hours fell by about eight percent. In 1926, Henry Ford standardized on a five-day workweek, instead of the prevalent six days, without reducing employees’ pay. Hours worked stabilized at about 49 per week during the 1920s, and during the Great Depression fell below 40. During the Depression, President Herbert Hoover called for a reduction in work hours in lieu of layoffs. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938, which established a five-day, 40-hour workweek for many workers.
The proportion of people working very long weeks has since risen, and the full-time employment of women has increased dramatically. The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21 hour standard work week to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time. The Centre for Economic and Policy Research states that reducing the length of the work week would slow climate change and have other environmental benefits.
AROUND THE WORLD
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 through Friday. 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 contract.
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). Islamic countries
Thursday–Friday weekend 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. Friday–Saturday weekend
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 markets.
• 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.