Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced five-day work week for its officers and employees beginning February 29 and extended the current work hours by 45 minutes.
The government is of the view that the new structure would not only improve the quality of life of its employees but will also cut down expenses on fuel and electricity.
State employees have been demanding the five-day work week since the last many years.
The decision was taken at the state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here, which will benefit nearly 20 lakh officers and employees.
At present, the work hours of the government employees in Mumbai are from 9.45 am to 5.30 pm and from 10 am to 5.45 pm in the rest of Maharashtra including lunch time of 30 minutes.
The employees currently get holidays on every second and fourth Saturday.
The new work hours will be from 9.45 am to 6.15 pm including the lunch break for 30 minutes between 1 pm and 2 pm.
Peons in the government departments will, however, have to report to work at 9.30 am everyday.
"With the five-day week, offices all over the state will have the same working hours. Lunch time would be for the maximum 30 minutes between 1 pm and 2 pm," the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a statement.
However, offices covered under Factory Rules, Industrial Disputes Act and essential services like the police and fire brigade, government colleges, polytechnic colleges, sanitation workers are excluded.
Apart from the Central government employees, the five-day week structure is currently in place for employees of Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal governments.
"Due to the five-day week, expenses on electricity, water, diesel and petrol will be saved. Government employees can now spend time with their families which will boost their quality of life," the statement said.
At present, the total working days for government employees in Maharashtra are 288 in a year, while the total working hours per day are 7:15 hours excluding the 30-minute lunch time.
The total work hours in a month are 174 hours and in a year 2088 hours.
"Due to the five-day work week, the total work days in a year will be 264, while the working hours per month will be 176 and 2112 hours in a year," the CMO said.
Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Association president G D Kulthe has hailed the five-day work decision.
"The five-day week structure will benefit women employees. All government employees and officers' associations have welcomed the decision," he said.