The idea is based on scientific practices across the globe, says bank officers’ body
It was Heny Ford who introduced the five-day, eight-hour per day, work-week. Ford was tired of continuously losing good employees. He doubled wages and implemented a five-day work-week and, in the process, effectively invented the modern weekend.
Actual work-week lengths have been falling in the developed world, says D Thomas Franco, Joint General Secretary, All-India Bank Officers Federation. The officers have been demanding a five-day week here as well.
Every reduction in the length of the work-week elsewhere has been accompanied by an increase in real per capita income, he added. During the Depression, President Herbert Hoover called for a reduction in work hours in lieu of layoffs.
Later, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938, which established a five-day, 40-hour work-week. The demand for a five-day week is based on scientific practices all over the globe bringing into context concerns of employee health, productivity and environment, Franco said.
He quoted from a general conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that met in Geneva on June 4, 1935, which took up this sixth item on the agenda.
ILO convention
On June 22, the ILO adopted the Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935, that declares its approval of: a) the principle of a 40--hour week applied in such a manner that the standard of living is not reduced in consequence; b) the taking or facilitating of such measures as may be judged appropriate to secure this end; and c) applying this principle to classes of employment in accordance with the detailed provision to be prescribed by such separate conventions as are ratified by that member.
ILO Weekly Rest Conventions No. 14 (1921) and No. 106 (1957) require that each worker has at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest every seven days.
Whenever possible, the rest day(s) should be simultaneous for all employees of an undertaking and correspond with the traditions and customs of the country.
Weekly rest day
Arab nations often choose Friday, rather than Sunday, as the rest day for the week. In China and Hungary, two days off are laid down in their national laws.
In European Union member-states, the EU Working Time Directive (93/104) entitles workers to a minimum of 24 hours of rest a week, principally on Sunday, in addition to 11 hours of rest each working day (between shifts).
In most countries, although only one day off a week is prescribed in national legislation, collective agreements or commonly accepted norms set the standard of a five-day week.
Benefits of a five-day work-week include reduced fuel costs, decreased absenteeism, increased productivity, improved job satisfaction and morale, reduced personnel turnover, reduced energy costs, improved work-life balance and reduced traffic congestion.