The demand for five days a week in banks emerged during the 10th bipartite settlement. It was initially the demand of the Officers’ organisations, upon discussions, this demand turned out to be the demand of United Forum of Bank Unions. It may be noted that the 10th bipartite settlement made history with the introduction of holidays on second and fourth Saturdays, thereby marking a new beginning.

Genesis of five days a workweek across the world

To understand the modern and flexible version of the workweek, we must understand the roots of the workweek itself. The first known workweeks have been traced back to the Babylonians, with their whopping seven-day workweek. This lifestyle of all work, no play, eventually caught up with its workers, which led to the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938. This act called for eight-hour workdays, 40-hour workweeks, and established minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping and child labor standards.  In US, Ford Motor Companies adopted a five day, 40 hours a workweek on 25th September 1926.

Five days a week widely prevalent

Many countries including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, North Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, US, Venezuela, Zimbabwe have five day a workweek. This list is just only illustrative but not exhaustive. In June 2021, the Japan government urged its employers to initiate four day workweek instead of five days in order to bring in work-life balance and to improve employees’ productivity.

This change of lesser workweek has been implemented across the globe after having an in-depth study by various institutions / individuals and governmental organisations. All these studies have in common concluded that the issue of five day week as a win-win situation for both the employers and the employees.

Present scenario in Indian Banking Industry vis-à-vis UFBU’s role

It was on 05th June 2017, the 11th bipartite common charter of demands by the Workmen Unions and Officers Associations were submitted to IBA, which contained among others the demand for five days a week in banks. During the discussions between IBA and UFBU, the demand for five days a week was negotiated while the response of IBA was that the matter needs to be taken up with various stake holders including customers and Government before any decision was taken. The arguments from the UFBU were that Five  Day  week  was  already  available  in  the  international  banking  system.   Further UFBU put forth: “It  is  also available  in  our  country  in  RBI, Stock Exchanges, Central  and  State  Governments,  Public  Sector Undertakings  and  Private  Sector  MNCs  and  IT  Sector.     Hence, it should be introduced immediately in the banking industry”. During this period, the delegation from UFBU had met the then Union Finance Minister and Secretaries in the Department of Financial Services with a request to implement five days a week in banks. Similarly, on 23rd September 2020, the representatives of the four officers’ organisations met Dr M K Mishra, Joint Secretary, DFS and Shri Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, DFS and held discussions on 5 day week. It was categorically assured that the demand would be actively considered. Again on 25 09 2020 the officers’ delegation met Shri Anurag Thakur, the then Union Minister of Finance and sought his intervention.

The Government – IBA combine felt that the customer services would be affected by extending five days banking. This was rebutted by the UFBU by providing them the data on digital banking. The banks have successfully transformed the way the banking was done and made available the alternative mode like cash deposit machines round the clock. The number of  Credit cards, Debit cards, Internet Banking and Mobile banking have increased multifold.

 Dec 2017Dec 2021
Point of Sales30,27,30254,98,311
CREDIT CARDS3,54,96,2026,89,48,699
DEBIT CARDS84,24,71,19193,77,41,694

                                    Source: RBI

The grant of five days a week also benefits the banks in various ways. Some of them are (1) Decreased absenteeism (2) Increased productivity (3) Reduced energy costs at branches (4) Improved work – life balance.

Recently Life Insurance Corporation has started implementing five days a week.  For quite a long time five days a week has been there in General Insurance sector. Since two years the WFTU has been fighting for five days a week.  It has called upon its affiliates, friends, class-oriented unions around the world to incorporate in their demands the current demand for 35 hours work week.


Five days a week is a world order and a win-win situation for both the employers and employees. It is important that this demand is met without waiting for the next settlement to commence. This is the wish of all the bank employees and officers.  Bank employees definitely deserve five days a week; if the Indian Banks Association and Union Government drag their feet, it has to be fought and won.


  1. Well being of its employees is of utmost importance to any organization.When IBA and Govt follow all Western dictates it is surprising that they don’t want to adopt good things.In some countries if the employees are unnecessarily disturbed while on holidays,the employers are penalised for that and prevented from doing so.With the labour code , already the United powers in the hands of employees are diluted.It is also he’ll to remember that despite any natural calamities,poor bankers have to work as no holidays are declared invariably under NI Act.This article highlights the importance of 5 day weeks.This deserves immediate attention of IBA and GOVT.Time for all of us to wake up.

  2. The rationale behind the demand of 5 days a week by the bank employees has been put forth in a fitting manner.

  3. Excellent article and Government to think all the possible ways to amend 5 days banking a week which really bankers deserve at this point.

  4. This article is written to Kindle the thoughts of the bank employees and officers to get into action on securing this demand. Hope this article serves that purpose

  5. The historical background for 5 days a week is clearly explained in the article. The author had outforth convincing arguments. The UFBU leadership, especially the big Unions, should understand the ground reality of the sufferings of bankmen and clinch the demand at the earliest.

  6. The author had narrated the historical background for the necessity of 5 days week in banking sector. The UFBU leadership especially the big partners should understand the ground reality and clinch the demand at the earliest.

  7. Technological advancement must be shared among the employees also.. Where as indian govt. extend the benefit only to the corporates…. The article justify our Demand for 5 days week…..

  8. The author has beautifully narrated the most expected demand of bank employees with the historical backgrounds and the present situation in various other sectors…It is the need of the hour for the bank unions to take up this issue with more strength…

  9. The article is dealing the issue elaborately with valid rationale approach. Congratulations to the author.In the present Socio Political Economical situation right from the School Campus upto the Working places the entire people and particularly the youngsters are forced to shoulder the stress and pressure from the Corporate houses and the Government Departments to earn huge profits.So the Five days week give will yield some sort of relief to balance the present life style.

  10. This is not a suggection but it should be the need of hour. All developed countries are following 5days banking. In these digital era 5 days banking is not only a suggection but it should be followed by the CGI.

  11. This is a genuine demand which is being extended to most other sectors. Denial to the banking sector is most unjustified. The Union leadership and the cadre should have mutual understanding and belief in one another and achieve this demand at the earliest. Hearty congratulations to the author for rekindling the thought process of bank employees.

  12. Five days a week is a win-win situation

    Yes… New gen bankers look for qualify of life.

    The 5 day week is mandatory to attract talent in future. We should not see this as facility rather its prerequisite for a healthy workforce.

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