Regulated working hours has been a long standing demand of the officers from
the year 1966. The All India State Bank Supervisory Officers Federation as well
as All India Co-Ordination Committee of Bank Officers Organisations have placed
this demand from the time of their formation, because of which some
developments have taken place. But, with the reduction in employees strength
due to embargo on recruitment for 10 years and introduction of voluntary
retirements schemes the work load of officers have increased at an alarming
proportion. Thousands of Branches of different Banks are managed by single
officers where it is impossible to complete the work within the working hours.
Today, it has become common for officers to work from 9 am to 9 pm, which
stands way above the standard norm of 48 hours in a week practised in many
developed countries. In addition to that introduction of e-corners, point of sales
machines, increase in ATMs and with number of business correspondents all of
which have to be monitored, officers practically are working late and also on
holidays without proper remuneration. With the introduction of Cheque
Truncation System the RBI has reduced the number of holidays and practically
those who are working in the clearing system have to compulsorily work late and
also on holidays. Moreover, the Government frequently gives us targets like the
one under the Jan Dhan Yojana, Linkage of Aadhaar cards and Income Tax
nd th Collection. Off late the National Lok Adalats were also conducted on 2 and 4
Saturdays. On many occasions, Banks have to keep the branches open on
holidays under the instructions of the Govt of India. All these led to acute fatigue
among the officer fraternity and which led to reduction in the productivity of the
officers too. Whereas the award staff get overtime for sitting late or for working on
holidays, officers either get nothing or a paltry sum. So it has become imperative
to have regulated working hours.
Due to untoward incidents like robbery and insurgent attack the Police
department has issued instructions repeatedly in many states to the Banks to
close the branches before it gets dark. With the advent of digital banking platform
and the aggressive promotion of the same after the demonetisation exercise paves
way for the regulated working hours for the bank officials but on the contrary
bank officials are forced to work on extended hours as well as on the holidays to
promote the same. All these led to a contrary move in providing regulated working
hours to the officer community.
The International Labour Conventions have provided for regulation of working
hours. In USA, average working hours is 33 hours in five days. In Australia it is
35 hours. In France it is 30 hours and in Netherlands 27 hours in a week. In
France working after 6 o clock is banned and in some countries workers who
work beyond 8 hours do not get insurance coverage. In our Country also, the
demand for 8 hours work came 26 years before the Chicago struggle led by the
Railway workers of Howrah and today in the Government as well as the Private
Sector 8 hours work is regulated. Most of the Government Offices and
Enterprises work from 10 am to 5 pm with half an hour lunch break making it
practically 6 ½ hours work.
In the Banking Industry, the Reserve Bank of India has introduced regulated
th working hours officially on 12 July 2012 along with flexible timing. (CO HRMD
Circular No.G.28/240/04.01.14/2012-13). Even IDBI Bank has regulated
working hours from 2009.
It is interesting to recall that way back in 1928 John Maynard Keynes predicted
that with technological advancement a work week will come down to 15 hours
within 100 years.
A study of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who worked 55
hours per week performed poorly on some mental tasks than those who worked
40 hours per week.
Hence, it is imperative for us to bring regulated working hours with a stipulation
of 6 ½ hours work. In case of emergency where the officer has to work beyond this
they have to be compensated with 150% of the pay which is almost the Universal