They may be pleasant and smiling when serving customers, but salesladies, especially those working in malls, have persistently been complaining of feeling pain and discomfort at work because of high heeled shoes they are required to wear.

This has lead a labor union group to urge the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to consider drafting a policy that would direct employers not to require the use of heeled footwear at work, particularly when the job requires being on their feet for extended hours.

The call is for the safety and health reasons, according to Gerard Seno, national executive vice president of the Alliance of Labor Unions-Trace Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).

He argued that the policy banning the use of high heels at work should not only cover salesladies, but promodizers in supermarkets, waitresses, hotel and restaurant receptionists and flight attendants.

“We received many persistent complaints from salesladies working in department stores and mall that they are in pain walking and standing for long hours performing their jobs in high heel shoes,” Seno was quoted as saying.

Other than discomfort, women likewise complained of sustaining injuries due to slipping, falling and tripping while wearing high heeled shoes.

"They should not be exposed to any harm or danger at any time," Seno added.

Presently, there is no policy banning companies from requiring employees to wear high-heeled shoes. Seno said that due to the lack of a genuine grievance mechanism, employees endure and comply with the company policy.

“This is a grave concern to their health and safety and so we are asking the DOLE to prohibit employers from requiring their employees to wear high heel shoes in doing their work,” according to Seno.

In addition, the labor group has also reached out to the Commision on Higher Education (CHED) in an attempt to require schools with students under hospitality and guest relations to limit the use of high heels.

In the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, researchers found that adolescents who are “skeletally immature” and wearing high heels are at risk of postural disorders affecting the back, pelvis and knees.

In another study from Stanford University, wearing heels three-and-a-half inches high is putting stress on the knees that it ups risk for osteoarthritis for women.MIMS

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