Staff members at shops and other related establishments in Tamil Nadu will soon get a seat and will not have to keep standing when there’s no work.
In what’s being seen as a humane gesture, the Tamil Nadu government is planning to bring an amendment to make seats for employees mandatory.
At the popular Velavan Stores in Chennai’s commercial hub T Nagar, salespersons like 25-year-old S Kalaivani are expected to be on their feet for nearly 10 hours every day.
The mega-store employs around 250 workers.
The showroom has chairs for customers but no designated seats for employees even to rest for a few minutes, though workers say the management lets them use those chairs when customers aren’t there.
This is expected to change from now on as the new law mandates seats for all employees.
Sharing the pain and challenges woman employees undergo at several stores, Kalaivani says, “Women Already Have Difficulty During Periods. They also have back pain problems. When we keep standing there would be pain on our foot. This rule is good for all.
P Dhanasekhar, an employee at Go Colors store, shared his experience from another store where he worked for 20 years.
“People developed knee problem, Spinal Cord, Problems Come. At the readymade Garment company I Worked for 20 years, None can sit during work. It was a 12 hour job,” he said.
Smaller stores or shops claim space is a constraint but most people welcome the move towards a more humane work space.
Shankar, who runs a departmental store says “I employ 15 people in the store but can’t put fifteen chairs. Whenever it’s possible they go to the godown and sit on the gunny bags. These are practical difficulties”.
If all goes well, the amendment will be adopted on the 13 September. On the ground, this rule is bound to face glitches but many hope this would certainly ensure dignity of labour and employee welfare, particularly to sit when there is no work.