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September 22, 2008

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High heels have no place at work

The TUC recently issued a new guide on appropriate footwear for the workplace. Entitled Working feet and footwear, it was produced in response to TUC findings that, while many employers do allow their workers to wear healthy and safe footwear, some big city institutions and upmarket retailers insist that female staff who deal with the public wear slip-on shoes, or heels as part of a dress code.

According to the TUC, this can lead to long-term foot problems, especially when combined with long periods of standing.

Said general secretary, Brendan Barber: “Heels may look glamorous on the catwalk and on Hollywood stars, but they’re not appropriate for day-to-day workwear. Feet bear the brunt of daily working life and, instead of worrying about what their staff look like, employers should focus on the effect that the wrong shoes and prolonged standing can have.”

The TUC believes that workers should be able to wear the footwear that is appropriate to their occupation, working environment, and feet. That means employers should ensure that the risk assessment they have to do by law includes risks to the feet, as well as slipping risk. If safety or special footwear is required, they must supply it at no cost to the worker.

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