‘Right to sit’ in a blind spot…”There is no punishment rule”


For service workers who stand up at department stores or marts, it is sometimes difficult to even sit down and take a break.

About 10 years ago, a related law was prepared under the name of ‘right to sit’, but it is pointed out that the effectiveness is low because there is no punishment regulation.

Reporter Kwon Jun-soo reports.

At a cafe in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul,

a busy lunchtime has passed, but part-time workers continue to greet customers.

When there are no customers, you must use a chair in the store to take a moment to sit down.

[Café President A: There are many cases where there are chairs in the back while working. If your legs hurt or you’ve done all your work, go to the hall and take a rest.]

Department stores and duty free shops are in similar situations.

Each store has chairs for employees, but most work standing up even when there are no customers.

Temporary stalls have no chairs to sit at all, or there are several employees but only one chair, so you have to notice.

When the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions conducted a survey of 1,500 union members this year,

nearly half of them said that there were not enough furnishings, such as chairs, even in the lounges used by service workers.

[Duty-free shop employee B: I’ve been working here for over 10 years. Most of the employees have varicose veins, and because of standing for a long time, the soles of the feet become inflamed… .]

It has already been 12 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 2011 stipulated that service workers’ ‘right to sit’ should be guaranteed.

As a result, business owners have to prepare a chair for rest메이저놀이터, but since there is still no punishment regulation, it has become a law at the site.

The right to sit down has not changed much in the working environment of service workers.

An amendment to the law to include punishment provisions was proposed six years ago, but was eventually scrapped in 2020 without crossing the threshold of the National Assembly.

[Kim Jong-jin / Director of the Working Citizen Research Institute: Our laws are originally intended for guidance rather than punishment. Therefore, the focus is on preventive projects and there is no provision for ex post fines. So, even if the business owner does not comply with the law, there is actually no problem.]

The Ministry of Employment and Labor is in the position that the only solution under the current law is to make corrections through on-site inspections in accordance with the standards of the Industrial Safety and Health Act.

In order to regain the ‘right to sit’, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions plans to start a full-scale health survey of service workers from the second half of this year.

Above all, it seems urgent to change the social perception that employees’ rest and health are as important as customer service before the law revision.

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