- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, with recent daily averages reaching 1,000 cases (60% of those in Java). Community transmission remains high in many parts of the country due to ongoing movement of people between regions and a growing number of people returning to work. The return to offices is a concern, as the latest outbreaks have been traced to 166 workplace clusters in Jakarta. The Government urged all workplaces to strictly apply Covid-19 health protocols, and some workplaces and manufacturing units are starting to be closed down due to non-observance.
- The Jakarta administration has decided to re-impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for two weeks starting on 14 September 2020. The announcement cited an increasing number of daily new COVID-19 cases and a decreasing number of free hospital beds in the capital city as the base for the decision. Other surrounding provinces such as West Java and Banten continue applying “new normal protocols,” but adjacent districts to Jakarta will follow PSBB. For example, Bogor district is imposing a curfew at 9 p.m. Local governments may decide to reinstate the full PSBB, given the high-growing number of cases.
- On 22 May, The Ministry of Health has issued new health protocols for workplaces to usher in a “new normal” phase despite the continued rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. These protocols detailed how offices and manufacturers should operate during the PSBB. Moreover, such protocols require all workplaces, except those in essential sectors, to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Industry to be able to operate. At the same time, the Ministry of Manpower has also issued similar circular letters to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace and ensure business continuity amid the pandemic.
- Since the start of the pandemic, garment and footwear factories have been forced to close or reduce their working hours/days, as workers are suggested to stay home. Based on data from the Indonesia’s Textile Association (API) from April 2020, Covid-19 restrictions have halted operations temporarily in 80 percent of textile and textile product companies in Indonesia.
- On 31 March, the government announced a COVID-19 fiscal stimulus package worth IDR 405.1 trillion (USD 24.6 billion), focused on health care, social safety net measures, and business recovery programs for micro-enterprises. The pre-employment card programme (Kartu Pra Kerja) has been redirected to provide unemployment subsidies and skills training to affected workers from both the formal and informal sector but is being marred with criticism around appropriate coverage, targeting and relevance of training. The Governor of West Java (Indonesia’s largest province) is one of the key figures advocating for a further review of the programme and redirection of existing funds for income protection for temporarily laid-off workers. Tax relief and soft loans are also foreseen. As part of an enhanced stimulus package, the government has earmarked Rp 695 trillion (US$47.39 billion) in spending to boost the economy and strengthen the healthcare system during the pandemic. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in early August that the government planned to expand its social aid programmes and incentives for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by reallocating Rp 70.8 trillion from existing ineffective stimulus packages.
- The government has allocated Rp 37.7 trillion from the state budget for a wage subsidy program. Workers who earn less than Rp 5 million per month and are registered in the social security program (BPJS) would receive Rp. 600,000 stimulus disbursement by the end of August 2020. It is estimated that around 15.7 million social security program beneficiaries will be included in the scheme.
- Despite the enhanced and increasingly comprehensive economic stimulus package, Indonesia is struggling to disburse funds – only 26% of all allocated budget has been spent. This has been attributed to issues around access to data and beneficiaries, proper policy design and deficient government support systems.
- Better Work advises all factories to actively communicate with local governments about the assistance schemes provided to workers and employers. See below for more information on existing schemes.
- The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower launched an information web site on the outbreak, Posko K3. The website contains steps to generate a business continuity plan, preventive measures, good practices, and information on rights of workers who have contracted COVID-19. It also functions as an online forum for consulting and submitting complaints relating to OSH and COVID-19.
- More than 144 export-oriented garment factories enrolled in Better Work are affected or are under a stoppage or temporary closure due to COVID-19 PSBB orders, or cancelled or suspended orders from buyers. Factories in DKI Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java and Jogjakarta provinces are affected. The total numbers of workers affected by the situation is more than 132,000. More details on the break down here.
- Many factories have adapted production lines since March to produce personal protective equipment for prevention and handling of COVID-19, including non-medical face masks and medical gowns.
- For further context on the national response to COVID-19, see the ILO’s compilation of country policy responses.
Factory service update
- Factory visits, including assessments, are suspended until further notice.
- In line with national government directions, WHO and the ILO, Better Work has been conducting a risk assessment and developing a protocol for a tentative, gradual return to in-person activities in July.
- Factories’ progress reports are being issued with information on COVID-19 related impact, OSH measures and operational situation.
- Virtual advisory services are being delivered to 190 factories (392 virtual and on-site advisory visits) with special consideration being given to the need to observe physical distancing, other OSH-related measures and issues related to wages payment as well as industrial relations.
- Virtual trainings have been delivered (in collaboration with government and other experts) on:Positive Wellbeing in the Workplace/Stress Management (for 45 factories); Supervisory skills training with a focus on leadership during Crisis (10 factories);Certified OSH Expert training (13 factories); OSH Management System Training (10 factories); Labour Norm Expert Training (10 factories); Promoting inclusion in the Workplace, Workplace Dialogue & OSH (42 factories).
- In collaboration with The Ministry of Manpower, Better Work is offering blended training on several subjects such as General OSH Expertise (20 factories), Chemical Expertise (54 factories) and Labour Norm Expertise ( 17 factories). Virtual Industry Seminars (with the government and other experts) have been delivered on: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of labour norms (195 factories); COVID-19 Health and Safety aspects (194 factories); Annual Festive Bonus (THR); Payment amid the Pandemic (150 factories); OSH & Labour Norm Aspects (70 factories); OSH Survey on COVID-19 Protocols in the Workplace (118 factories). A step-by-step OSH action plan for Better Work factories, to inform and protect workers, has been rolled out using the latest ILO and WHO advice. A short video on good factory practices was also distributed through social media. Factories have instituted temperature screening and social distancing, new handwashing regiments, and distributed masks to workers.
Additional Better Work Activities
- Bipartite and tripartite social dialogue is being promoted by Better Work at the sectoral and national levels for joint action to mitigate the economic and employment impact of COVID-19. The Indonesian employers’ associations (Apindo, API and APRISINDO) and trade unions related to export-oriented garment and footwear industries (SPSI, SPSI ATUC, Garteks) signed a joint commitment to protect health, business sustainability and welfare of workers in these sectors. The virtual signing ceremony, held in Jakarta on 6 August, also marked the joint response taken by the employers and workers against the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative facilitated by Better Work Indonesia concluded with an agreement to continue and strengthen concerted efforts among government, workers’ and employers’ organizations to ensure the continuity of businesses, save jobs and protect workers during and after the pandemic.
- Better Work continues engaging with the provincial governments of West Java, Central Java and Jakarta in clarifying, helping shape and further disseminate policy concerning labour law, PSBB measures and incentive programmes to support workers and employers amid the pandemic.
- Engagement with garment trade unions has been regular and strategies to further disseminate key information and advice among workers are in place. An Instagram-live campaign has been launched by Better Work for wider sensitization of workers and relevant stakeholders around labour norms, workers’ rights during the pandemics and promoting social dialogue. Some of the sessions focus on strategies to deal with the lockdown, stress and sensitization to avoid the end of Ramadan Mudik (travel back home for Idul-Fitri) and financial literacy. More than 1,000 netizens have viewed, logged in and participated in the IG live sessions that discussed the government’s new arrangement of annual festive bonus (THR), application of new normal in the workplace, social dialogue and preventing layoffs.
- A third webinar for Better Work Buyers focusing on annual festive bonus (THR) payment amidst the pandemic took place on the 18 May with Dyah Hartanti Purwitasari, of DG Labour Inspection and OSH, Ministry of Manpower as the main resource person. Thirty-four participants from 20 buyer partners attended the webinar.
- On 31 August, Better Work Indonesia organized a webinar for Buyers’ partner on the recent policy proposals around revising the Minimum Wage determination system in Indonesia and; discussed and updated partners on the recent developments concerning the West Java’s Minimum Wage 2020 dispute.
- Guidance on Workers’ Protection and Business Continuity Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic was issued to provide clarity on the applicable Labour laws and regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is available in Bahasa Indonesian and English.
- Better Work has developed a guidance document for factories on COVID-19 Transmission, Prevention and Management and the Best Practices in the Workplace. It is available in Bahasa Indonesian and English.
- Guidance on “new normal” scenarios and retrenchment are currently under development and will be launched soon.