COVID-19 and the Protection of Highest-Risk Employees in Indonesia
By Indrawan D. Yuriutomo
After a significant number of employees in Indonesia were infected with COVID-19 in their workplaces, the Ministry of Manpower has taken steps to improve protections for workers.
On May 28, 2020, the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower issued Circular Letter No. M/8/HK.04/V/2020 regarding the Protection of Employees Against Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) through the Work Accident Social Security Program (\"MOM Circular Letter‚Äù). The ministry issued this circular letter to all governors in Indonesia to ensure that high-risk employees receive work-related accident insurance (jaminan kecelakaan kerja or \"JKK‚Äù) coverage under the BPJS Employment national social security program.
The MOM Circular Letter categorizes employees at high risk of contracting COVID-19 as those involved in caring for patients in hospitals, health facilities or other places designated by the government to treat COVID-19 patients. Such employees include:
- medical personnel and health personnel;
- support personnel such as cleaning staff, laundry workers and other employees who face risks; and
The MOM Circular Letter expects all governors in Indonesia to take the following steps:
- Ensure that every employer takes preventive measures according to the applicable rules, regulations and health protocols.
- Ensure that every company/organization whose workers face a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 register their employees with BPJS Employment.
- Ensure medical and health personnel, support personnel (cleaning staff, laundry workers and other employees who face risks), and volunteers receive work-related accident insurance benefits according to the applicable rules and regulations.
- If the employer has not registered workers in the JKK program under BPJS Employment, the employer must then provide JKK benefits in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations for any employee who contracts COVID-19.
- Instruct the heads of local manpower service offices to conduct inspections of relevant workplaces.
While the intention of the circular letter is to ensure high-risk employees receive coverage for COVID-19 under JKK, it remains to be seen how governors in Indonesia will actually implement the provisions of MOM Circular Letter.
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