Overworked Bank employees and techies plan to highlight their problem by having a day when they stick to official work hours and don't stay back even a minute more
Bank employees have decided to "go home on time" on November 25, and techies may follow suit.
They are taking their cue from financial sector employees in Australia observing a 'Go Home on Time Day' that day.
"It is a protest by overworked employees in Australia and it is also a bid to protect their interests," said Karthik Shekar, general secretary, Unites, a union of employees of the IT sector. "When we have days for lovers, fathers and mothers, why not a Go Home on Time Day?"
S R Rajashekhar, State Assistant Secretary, Syndicate Bank Employees' Union, said his organisation would support the Australian initiative. "We are waiting for our all-India body to decide on observing it here," he said.
He said recruitment had slowed down since 1984 and made life difficult for employees of nationalised banks. "It is necessary for us to observe such a day to express our opposition to poor staffing," he said.
Some Australian companies are allowing their employees to leave office on time that day; Shekar expects a similar gesture from their Indian branches.
"It is disturbing that Australian companies in India are silent about this, when their head offices are ready to send their employees home on time at least on one day," he said.
He wants Australian companies in India like ANZ Bank to play fair. Unites is planning to take the idea to the IT sector where "overwork is common".
An HR manager at ANZ Bank said, "We will support employees if they want to observe such a day, but no request has come yet." In Australia, employees bargain collectively, he said.
Unites says half of all employees work more hours than they are paid for in the finance sector.
On an average, according to a Unites survey, an employee works an hour of unpaid overtime a day.
Their audits of finance sector workplaces show that 59 per cent workers consistently work overtime. Some 54 per cent say overtime work generally goes unrecognised.
"We don't think that going home on time for one day will fix the problem, but the day will be organised in a fun way for members to highlight the issues of understaffing, increased workloads and unpaid work," said Shekar.
The best ways to tackle these issues is by employers to recognise and respect the contribution of workers, and the need for a healthy balance of work and life outside, he told MiD DAY.
Unites has asked Prof Arnesto Narhona and Prof Pramila D Cruz of IIMA to prepare a report on overwork in the IT sector by January next year.
Prathik Kumar, HR head, Wipro, said, "I know something of this sort is happening on November 25. Let me tell you we are sending our employees on time and they are coming in on time which is also important."
Delhi-based consultant with HCL Harsh Vardhan said with flexible timings the employee could choose when to come in and when to go as long as work deadlines were adhered to by them.
"In most IT companies, we work on a project with a deadline, so it depends on us when to want to stretch and when we want to go early," Harsh Vardhan said.
"The idea of going home on time on a particular day is weird, as in every industry work is the priority. Most companies work round-the-clock, so it's up to an employee when he wants to come in and finish his job."
Financial analyst Tarun Prakash Singh, who is also Delhi-based, felt it a Go Home On Time day was a fun idea.
"It would be so much fun to celebrate a day like that and go home on time. It's like celebrating Valentine's Day, a day dedicated to love. Similarly, Go Home On Time sounds exciting," Singh said.
"It would hardly change anything, but the day would make us feel special as we spend most of our time in our office cubicles."
(With inputs from Nolan Pinto and Shashank Shekhar)