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Ban on high heels at work takes effect

In an advisory issued by DOLE’s Bureau of Working Condition (BWC), employers were reminded of Department Order 178-17, which takes effect today. AP Photo/Francois Mori

MANILA, Philippines — Starting today, workers – especially sales ladies and female security guards – are no longer required to wear high-heeled shoes in the workplace, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said yesterday.

In an advisory issued by DOLE’s Bureau of Working Condition (BWC), employers were reminded of Department Order 178-17, which takes effect today.

The order also mandates private sector employers to provide rest periods or sitting breaks for employees whose job requires standing for a long period and frequent walking.

It also requires establishments to provide workers with accessible seats for the rest period or even during working hours, provided these employees could still perform their duties efficiently while seated.

These seats can be small foldable stools so as not to hamper the work area, the order said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said women workers, like sales ladies and lady guards, should not be compelled to wear high-heeled shoes in the workplace.

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Employers must allow workers to take short breaks so they could flex or rest their feet and eliminate fatigue or stress, Bello said.

Establishments were advised to allow workers to wear practical and comfortable footwear that do not pinch the feet or toes, are well-fitted and non-slipping; provide adequate cushion and support arch of the feet, and flat, low-heeled, wide-based or wedge type shoes.

The order is in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, which mandates the DOLE to formulate policies and implement programs that ensure the safety and welfare of workers.

BWC director Teresita Cucueco said there are potential health concerns that might be caused by prolonged standing and wearing of high-heeled shoes in the workplace.

“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. The joints and the musculoskeletal system will be affected,”Cucueco said.

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