Feeling employees’ pain – Manila Standard

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posted September 15, 2017 at 09:01 pm

We commend the Department of Labor and Employment for issuing an order banning companies from requiring their employees to wear high-heeled shoes to work.

Department Order no. 178 also covers private-sector employees who are required by their employers or establishments to stand at work for long periods, and those who have jobs which require frequent walking. They must be given time to rest— specifically, through sitting breaks. 

Aside from the discomfort, there are health issues that can result from prolonged standing especially when wearing high-heeled shoes, according to the director of the Bureau of Working Conditions.

“If the muscles have been overloaded because of the prolonged standing position, there will be a burden on our back as well as on our legs. There will be pain because of fatigue. What will be affected here are the joints, the musculoskeletal system. It can cause some problems in the spine, in the lower legs, and in the end, if this is not properly corrected, one can have arthritis and other related musculoskeletal disorders,” said Teresita Cocueco.

The order was signed August 25, published September 9 and will take effect September 26.

Following this, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello is also considering requiring companies to provide standing breaks for their employees who spend most of their time sitting down. There are also attendant health complications that may arise from sedentary behavior. Among these are obesity, diabetes, and some types of cancer. It slows the metabolism and renders the body less able to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and break down fat.

The department order shows the sensitivity of government to the plight of workers who must endure prolonged discomfort, even pain, while performing their jobs—as though they did not have to worry about stretching their meager salaries to make ends meet.

One wonders, then, how some employers can be callous, indifferent—even cruel—enough to have to be reminded of their duty to provide timely remuneration and basic benefits to the people without whom their enterprises will not run. The absence of decency and compassion is astounding; the hypocrisy, as they package themselves as good corporate citizens, even more so.

It is good that the government and the law can always step in to ensure lowly, hardworking workers are given their due.

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