Parliament on Friday passed a bill requiring employers to provide suitable seating for the thousands of workers currently required to stand for long hours in jobs where they could actually sit.

The bill was passed by 34 votes in the parliament.

Speaking in parliament, Akel MP Giorgos Koukoumas, whose party had tabled the bill, said that no one has forced employers to take care of the health consequences of prolonged standing for workers such as retail workers.

He talked about the daily stress and exhaustion of workers and an international study that shows the consequences of prolonged standing such as rheumatism and musculoskeletal diseases.

He said that the law establishes the obligation of employers to organise the time of their employees to avoid prolonged standing. It is, he said, about something that concerns the health, safety, and dignity of the workers.

The labour ministry welcomed the bill in an announcement later on Friday.

“With the new provision of the legislation, the safety and health levels are upgraded for workers, who perform tasks that require prolonged standing,” the ministry said.

It added that the bill is based on the best practices prepared and published by the European Organisation for Safety and Health at Work (EU OSHA) on the subjects of standing in workplaces.