The Right to Sit

MP Leon Perera

Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Mr Chairman, there has been recent debate over the provision of chairs at retail outlets and the right of retail workers to sit.

Multiple studies report there are significant health risks associated with prolonged standing, including chronic venous insufficiency, musculoskeletal disorders, as well as spontaneous abortion for pregnant women in some rare cases. This is a health hazard caused by an inability to alternate muscle usage.

Countries like Malaysia and South Africa have enacted laws on the right to sit. The UK requires retail outlets to provide seats and to allow staff to sit occasionally.  

Sir, I call on the Government to explore similar laws, perhaps by amending the WSH Handbook.

Sir, the time has come to go beyond industry self-regulation on this issue. Our laws and regulations should promote our retail workers’ health, well-being and longevity.

Ministry of Manpower
1 March 2023

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