Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has directed the regional offices of the labor department to conduct simultaneous inspection of business establishments on their compliance with an order prohibiting the compulsory use of high heeled shoes by women employees in workplaces.

DOLE Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCO) were to assess the numerous malls, supermarkets, restaurants, fast foods, and other service establishments across the country on their compliance with Department Order 178 which took effect Sunday.

Aside from prescribing the appropriate footwear for women employees, the department order also provides rest periods, appropriate floorings or mats, as well as tables or work surfaces with adjustable heights and readily accessible seats in workplaces.

In the National Capital Region, inspectors noticed that most of the salesladies' footwear in a Manila mall are not compliant with the DO.

One of the managers explained that their staff and salesladies could not find the appropriate ladies shoes in accordance with the order because suppliers no longer have the stock of the required footwear. The mall officer, however, said that they will be complying with the order.

Some salesladies said they had difficulty in immediately complying due to budget issues, while some said they just recently bought a pair of high heeled shoes for their respective assignments.

In the toy section and pharmacy of another mall, management was found to be compliant because the staff and sales personnel are sporting rubber shoes which are deemed comfortable and practical.

Aside from observing appropriate footwear, the said mall was found compliant in providing their employees with rest periods and breaks. Salesladies and selling staff have the one-hour lunch break, a 30-minute coffee break, and they are allowed to rest or sit should they feel tired or feel pain on the legs and feet.

In terms of providing readily accessible seats for the workers, the said mall was found to be non-compliant because the salesladies resting chairs were only found in their stock rooms and employee's quarters. Only a small plastic stool was found by the inspectors which are shared by 2-3 selling sections or more than 15-20 employees.

On the other hand, a mall located along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City has been observing the provisions of the DO since early September.

Monica Laviola, 26, a sales clerk from the said mall expressed gratitude to the labor department for the order that regulates wearing of high-heeled shoes in workplaces.

"This is a big help to us. My leg pain and fatigue were greatly lessened during my duty. We thank DOLE, as well as our mall management for their initiative in implementing the 'no high heels' regulation, Laviola said. ### PPRA

Source: Department Of Labor and Employment Republic of Philippines