Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women has asked the government to consider offering flexi-timing work hours for women at public sector banks, despite the Finance Ministry rejecting it.
The ministry argued before the panel that banks cannot offer flexi-timing since their services come under ‘public utility’ requiring its employees to work at specified hours.
The panel headed by BJP MP Bijoya Chakrabarty asked the government to re-consider the issue as bank transactions are going digital and women need greater flexibility to move ahead in their careers.
Work related stress and family responsibilities prompt the 1,96,374 women in public sector banks to either leave their jobs or pass up higher positions. The panel told the government that it is “high time” it introduced flexi-timings to help women become more productive and advance in their careers.
"Flexi working hours allow women employees to strike a balance between professional and family or private responsibilities, maintain a healthy life-style, contribute to parenting and bring the overall coherence that sometimes go awry and unsettle them mentally,” the panel said, asking the government to work out ways of introducing flexi-timings.
Digital banking and remote expert facilities have enabled employees to offer advice through high-definition video connectivity, making flexi-timing possible, the panel contended.
Increasing dependence on networked based systems obviates the need for customers and service providers to be present under one roof for transaction. This makes flexi-timing for women all the more doable, the panel said citing the example of RBI and SBI that have recently introduced flexi-timings.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) observed that banks can begin introducing flexi-timings at positions that do not involve direct interfacing with customers.
Women need flexi-timing since they face dilemma in providing time between work and home responsibilities, the NCW said.
With financial institutions transitioning from banking to IT-based business services, more women will find employment in the sector, hastening flexi-timing, working from home opportunities and entrepreneurial assignments.