Standing Is Tiring (SIT) Act would let workers sit down on the job

Are you sitting down for this? If not, this bill is for you.

New legislation in Albany is hoping to provide some relief to workers who are on their feet all day. The physically taxing dilemma has deep roots in New York. (And was memorably captured on an episode of "Seinfeld" where George convinces a store to let the security guard sit down… the guard promptly falls sleep, allowing thieves to walk off with merchandise.)

The bill, called the Standing Is Tiring Act — or the SIT Act — has just been introduced in the state Legislature.

If passed, the legislation would require employers to allow employees to sit at work if it doesn't interfere with the nature of the work. The state's Department of Labor would decide who gets to sit and which profession has to stay on its feet.

Assembly member Karines Reyes, a Bronx Democrat, is the bill's sponsor.  She says she knows first-hand what being on one's feet all day is like. She has been a registered nurse for several years and said science shows prolonged standing can lead to health problems, injuries, and absenteeism.

"Making accommodations for employees to have that option, to perhaps stand and sit whatever their duties allow them to — I think is fair and humane," Reyes said. 

While the bill focuses on the people who are standing all day at work to get them a break because standing too long is bad for their health, sitting for too long can be detrimental to one's health, too.

The bill's sponsors will start the heavy lifting of convincing fellow lawmakers and the governor once they're back in session in January.  The bill has been referred to the Labor committee.

Summary of Legislation A10697

Enacts the "standing is tiring (sit) act"; requires employers to provide suitable seats to all employees where the nature of such employees' work reasonably permits seated work; prohibits employers from artificially designing a work space to require standing; requires the department of labor to determine whether the nature of work reasonably permits seated work; creates a private right of action for employees whose employer does not provide seats.