As coronavirus cases continue to increase at a breakneck pace, banks have decided to shorten working hours and cut staff attendance to 50 per cent. The decision was taken by the Indian Banks' Association in a meeting and subsequently conveyed to banks. The association observed that the infection rate among banks is 'alarming'.
As per the new guidelines, bank branches could operate from 10am to 2pm, the bank body said in a communication. "Working hours (business hours) of the banks could be restricted to 10am-2pm. Doorstep banking activities should be encouraged," the IBA said in a letter to the banks.
Accepting deposits, cash withdrawals, remittances and government businesses are the four mandatory functions that will be provided by the banks.
The managing committee of the IBA also stated that since there is no nationwide lockdown and states are imposing their own guidelines, the State Level Bankers' Committees (SLBC) could modify the SOPs as per the situation in the state, as mentioned in a report by Business Standard.
The guidelines stated that bank employees could be called on rotational basis or allowed to work from home, depending on the nature of their work. "...ideally 50 per cent of the employees may be called for 'in person' duty and on rotation basis," it said.
The association has asked bank employees to take vaccination for themselves as well as their family members. The IBA has also asked banks to explore arrangements with hospitals to provide all emergency medical facilities required for the staff as well as intensive medical attention. The letter stated that all SOPs regarding social distancing, management of customers, health and sanitation etc that were highlighted in their previous guidelines should be followed.
"Infection rates among the bank employees is quite alarming," it said, further adding that banking activities were in a reviving mode but the resurgence of the mutant coronavirus has impacted banking and bank employees.
The guidelines come after bank employees' unions wrote to IBA requesting fresh SOPs amid the second wave of COVID-19 in the country.