In view of an increasing number of bank employees getting infected by coronavirus, the West Bengal government on Monday directed that all bank branches in the state will remain closed on Saturdays. Presently, the banks remain closed only on second and fourth Saturdays and all Sundays.
"The Governor is pleased to declare that all Saturdays shall be public holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 in respect of all bank branches working in the State of West Bengal, in addition to the existing holidays on 2nd and 4th Saturdays," the finance (audit) department said in a notification.
"This will take immediate effect and will remain in force until further notification," it said.
Over 2,000 employees of state-run and private banks of West Bengal have been affected by COVID-19, All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) state secretary Sanjay Das said.
Earlier in the day, the information and cultural department issued an advisory to the banks urging them to close branches on all Saturdays and Sundays and provide services to customers on weekdays between 10 am and 2 pm.
The bank unions have been demanding for a five-day working week for long and held several rounds of discussions with the Indian Banks Association.
"We welcome the step taken by the state government for containing the spread of COVID-19. Ultimately our legitimate demand was accepted by the state government," said Das, who is also all-India joint general secretary of AIBOC.