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Bill to protect workers right to sit down

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The House plenum should vote before Christmas on a bill proposing to end prolonged periods of standing imposed on employees by businesses, the House labour committee heard on Tuesday.

The bill was submitted by Akel a few months ago, and according to MP Giorgos Koukoumas, who tabled the bill, it aims to combat an employer practice “which thousands of workers across the spectrum are subjected to”.

This entails employees having to stand for prolonged periods of time without breaks, with consequences to their health, he explained, noting that this concerns a wide range of businesses, from greengrocers and supermarkets to department stores, hotel receptions, and factories.

“We have asked for employers to be obliged to provide seats in workplaces for workers to use when they are able to, and for them to organise rotas in such a way that ensures no prolonged periods of standing,” he said.

This means more frequent breaks or rotation within the workplace, he added.

Koukoumas said that Akel’s proposals have also been discussed at the Pancyprian Health and Safety Council, and the labour consulting body, where the government, trade unions and employers’ associations had the chance to weigh in.

He added that there was a delay in the government’s submission of the bill to the House plenum and the milestone of voting before the summer was missed, noting that the new deadline is before Christmas.

“It is important to pass this legislation, because thousands of workers are waiting for it,” he said.

“The message needs to be sent that workers are not robots, and if employers don’t understand that, legislation should make them understand”.

 

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