Forum: Let retail staff sit at appropriate times

I read with great interest the article "Fighting for the right to sit at work" (Oct 3) by Straits Times India correspondent Rohini Mohan, which said retail staff in Tamil Nadu were cheering as the state joined Kerala in passing a law granting them relief from standing all day.

I am uncertain of what the laws are in Singapore on this matter, but I have met many retail staff in large department stores in Singapore who tell me they are not permitted to sit during their shifts and the only time they get a chance to sit is during lunch or dinner or when they are in the toilet.

The reason they are not permitted to sit is similar to what was reported in the article - that it lends an air of laziness and sends a wrong message to customers.

Long hours of standing are not good for overall health as they can lead to fatigue and can cause pain in the muscles of the legs, back and neck, as well as pooling of blood in the legs and feet which leads to varicose veins.

Can the Singapore Retailers Association comment on whether retail staff in Singapore are permitted to sit at work, and if not, could measures be considered and implemented, similar to what has been introduced in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the right to sit at work?

To make the resting less obvious, stores could provide high stools for their retail staff to sit or lean on.

Or the staff can be permitted to sit at work at appropriate times - for example, when customers are not around.

Kwek Lu-Sien

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