Stop requiring women to wear high heels at work – labor union

MANILA, Philippines – Labor unions are asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to prohibit employers from requiring their female workers to wear high heels.  

The Associated Labor Union (ALU), which claims to represent some 400,000 workers nationwide, said the proposed regulation must cover sales ladies, promo girls in supermarkets, waitresses, receptionists at hotels, and flight attendants. 

“We received many persistent complaints from sales ladies working in department stores and malls that they are in pain walking and standing for long hours, performing their jobs in high heel shoes. They also worry that it might have long-term damaged on them,” ALU executive vice president Gerard Seno said on Monday, August 7. 

“Apart from the pain, working women also complain of injury after slipping, falling and tripping with high heel shoes on. This must be stopped. Women workers should not be compelled to put on high heel shoes against their will. They should not be exposed to any harm and danger at all times,” he added.  

There is no government policy that prohibits employers from listing high heels as part of their dress code for workers.

The labor union said this requires female workers to “endure the agony for long periods.” The group also noted that most of these workers are contractual and are not part of any union to represent them. 

ALU also urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to stop schoolds from requiring students taking up guest relations courses from wearing high heels. 

Health risk 

According to a review recently conducted by the University of Aberdeen, there are a number of studies linking high-heeled shoes to risks of injury, postural problems, and bunion formation. It however failed to find literature proving that this is associated with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. 

Last March, there was a heated debate on the issue in the United Kingdom, when 152,420 individuals signed an online petition asking the government to stop companies from requiring their workers to wear high heels.

The government rejected the petition more than a month later, saying there is no need to draft a new legislation for it.

Women in British Columbia in Canada, on the other hand, are free to wear flats at work after the government last April prohibited companies from forcing them to wear high heels. – 


Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.