Reduced Business Hours in Banks Due to Sudden Surge in COVID-19 Cases

A sharp increase in daily cases amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in stricter lockdowns in most states. With COVID-19 infections crossing 3 lakh a day, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has decided to bring down the mandate staff attendance for banks to 50%. Business hours will be restricted; banks will operate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

IBA undertook this decision after observing the increasing infection rate amongst bankers. The four functions banks will perform mandatorily will include – accepting deposits, remittance, cash withdrawals and government businesses. IBA also expressed its opinion that doorstep banking activities need to be encouraged.

As per the guidelines issued by IBA, bank employees will be called to work on a rotational basis or will be permitted to work from home, based on the nature of their work. Ideally, 50% of the workforce will be called for ‘in person’ duty on a rotational basis.

IBA issued an advisory on a few additional steps which needs to be undertaken by banks in addition to the steps mentioned in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued last year. IBA, in its letter, also mentioned that all SOPs concerning health, sanitation, social distancing, and management of customers, etc., that were highlighted in its previous guidelines have to be continued.

IBA has notified bank employees to get themselves as well as their family members vaccinated. IBA has also instructed banks to make the required arrangements with hospitals for rendering emergency medical facilities and intensive medical attention to its staff members.

IBA has asked the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) to get in touch with the chief medical officers and other senior-level government officials for making mass vaccination arrangements for employees. These mass vaccination drives can either be planned at office premises or places convenient within the state protocols.

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