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).
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 the
flexibility of two days off, will return to work refreshed.
- 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
- Reduced energy costs. By closing for two, instead of one day each week,
Banks stand to reduce substantial energy costs. These costs can be
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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.