Old city ordinance mandates sitting break for sales personnel

BAGUIO CITY -The City Government had long ago frowned upon sales workers standing for long hours without a sitting break way before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) thought of ending this bad practice.

Ordinance No. 471 series of 1968 requires “all department stores, bazars and other stores to provide stools, chairs or similar adequate facilities to be used by their sales personnel when not actually attending to customers…” and those violating are subject to a punishment of paying P200 fine or imprisonment of six months or both upon the discretion of the court.

However, the said measure is “no longer being complied with and implemented,” according to the findings of the legislative tracking study done by the city council research division under local legislative staff officer V Dan Ricky Ong.

In her report submitted to Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, local legislative staff officer Michelle Dulay noted that most of the owners, store managers and sales personnel are not aware of the existence of the said ordinance.

Some of those interviewed defended the practice saying providing stools encourages laziness among employees and that customers tend to shy away from asking about the merchandise when the personnel are seated.

Moreover, shoplifting and thievery are hard to prevent when employees are seated thus they are only allowed to sit down during the tagging or bar coding of products and related tasked and that stools are only provided for cashiers and pregnant salesladies.

Most sales personnel suggested that the ordinance be enforced and be amended to include a specific time for sitting breaks and that information dissemination and regular inspection be conduct by implementing agencies.

City health services officer Rowena Galpo deferred to the Occupational Health and Safety Center of the Dept. of Labor and Employment Cordillera to provide expertise and intervention mechanism to improve workplace conditions.

DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronie Guzman agreed to the amendment of the 1968 ordinance to include a provision that workers be given at least 10 minutes sitting break every after an hour of standing.

He also offered findings of a recent study on the risks of prolonged standing to the musculoskeletal condition of a person necessitating the formulation of policies to improve the condition of these workers.

In her report, Dulay recommened that the city council consolidate and approve the pending proposals of Councilor Joel Alangsab to amend Ordinance 471-68 and of Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. which will require business establishments to provide seats for female workers.

The DOLE central office recently announced its plan to stop companies from requiring female workers to wear high-heeled shoes at work and to require them to provide female workers with rest periods from long hours of standing. /Aileen P. Refuerzo


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