It is a long-pending demand of the bankers and bank unions that the banking should be made for 5 days a week instead of the recent practice of having 5 days banking only for two weeks and 6 days week for the rest. Prior to the 10th Bi-Partite Settlement that came into effect from November 01, 2012 the second and fourth Saturdays of a month have been declared as holidays in the country with the circular in this regard being issued by the Reserve Bank of India in September 2015. Recently, a lot of messages have been doing the rounds in the social media that the RBI has published a circular to restrict banking within 5 days. However, to the despair of lakhs of bank employees, no such circular has been issued by the RBI in this regard, as has also been clarified by the central bank.

What is the view of the government regarding 5-day banking?

In the 10th bipartite settlement, the United Forum of Bank Unions has made it a point that the Indian Banks’ Association accepts its demand of 5-day banking along with all the other demands. However, only second and fourth Saturdays were declared as holidays in that settlement. The proposal was also put forward to the Finance Ministry but the government is yet to take any decision in this regard. It is a part of the charter of demands shared by the United Forum of Bank Unions in the 11th bipartite settlement but the status of the proposal is yet not accepted or vetted by the government.

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Why is 5-day week a demand?

The demand of 5-days week has been put forward by the bank unions because these days most of the banking activities can be carried out online and through ATMs with the need of utilizing the branch banking services being reduced drastically. That is why the bank unions are demanding that banks should also have only 5-day week on the lines of the Government of India employees.

What is the way forward for 5-day banking?

The demand for 5-day banking has been there in the charter of demands for quite some time now but the government is yet to accede to the demand because banks are often considered to having a lot of social responsibilities and they are also given the responsibility of carrying out the financial inclusion activities. That is why it is unlikely that the government and IBA will pay heed to this demand in the latest bipartite settlement due from November 2017.

Banking has become quite challenging in the last few years with a lot of unrelated activities being imposed on banks by the government. With the problem of depleting staff base in most of the banks and the problem of rising NPAs, it has really become difficult for banks to attend to so many activities at the same time.

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With the slow progress in the matter of 11th bipartite settlement, where even the the prime issues have still not been discussed and also looking into the attitude of IBA, the possibility is rare that bankers may get 5 day banking.

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