Employers can’t force female workers to wear heels

The country’s labour department issues the ban amid calls from labour groups

Employers can’t force female workers to wear heels

Employers in the Philippines are no longer require their female employees to wear high-heeled shoes to work.

Department Order No. 178 or the “Safety and Health Measures for Workers who by the Nature of their Work have to Stand at Work” of the Department of Labor and Employment disallows the mandatory use of high-heeled shoes among women in work places.

Covered by the order are private-sector employees who are required by their employers or establishments to wear high-heeled shoes, stand at work for long period of hours, and those who have jobs which require frequent walking.

Workers should also be given time to rest if their job requires them to stand or walk for long periods.

There are attendant health issues in prolonged standing, said Bureau of Working Conditions director Teresita Cucueco, especially when wearing high-heeled shoes.
“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,” she said.

The order mandates business establishments to implement the use of practical and comfortable footwear which does not pinch the feet or toes; well-fitted and non-slipping; provide adequate cushion and support to the arch of the feet; flat or low heels which are not higher than one inch and must be wide-based or wedge type.

It also requires employers to provide rest periods to break or cut the time spent on standing or walking, as well as provide the employees with accessible seats where they can perform their duties without detriment or affect the efficiency of their jobs.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines lauded the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the order
“The ALU-TUCP commends the swift action made by DOLE on a request made by salesladies to do away with the wearing of high heel shoe because it causes pain and exposes them to the risk of sliding, falling, and tripping. Salesladies are happy with the decision of DOLE,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.



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