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May Day: Reviewing Various Court Decisions on Labor

Last Sunday, which falls on May the 1st, workers from all over the world including those from Indonesia, gathered in public squares to mark the International Workers’ Day also known as “May Day”. Despite the rapid development on protection of workers’ entitlements, clash between employers and employees is somewhat inevitable. In commemoration of this year’s May Day, hukumonline have summarized several court decisions related with the classic clash of workers and employers in Indonesia.

Minimum Wage

On 5 December 2012, the Supreme Court sentenced Tjioe Christina Chandra, owner of an electronic store in Surabaya to a one month imprisonment and a fine of IDR 100 million. The decision was a result of her paying her workers’ wage lower than the lawful minimum wage. It was the Supreme Court Decision No. 687 K/Pid.Sus/2012, that found Mrs. Chandra guilty of violating Article 90 (1) and Article 185 (1) of Law No. 13 of 2003 on Labor. These provisions basically mandates employers to pay their employees’ wage based on the prevailing minimum wage threshold.

Originally, the court of first instance acquitted Mrs. Chandra from all charges. However prosecutors decided to file a cassation and resulted in the Supreme Court overturning the acquittal.

Recreational Facility

The demand for fulfillment of recreational facility from employers was initiated by the Kimia Energi Pertambangan Minyak dan Gas’ Workers Union of PT Multi Bina Pura International (“Union”). The Union’s lawsuit demanded that the company provides a once a year recreational facility for their workers including family members.

Additionally, the Union also demanded for an attendance incentive (tunjangan kerajinan) for all workers. This incentive is a reward given to workers who complies with the company’s working hours. The rationale behind requesting this type of incentive is that the company imposes sanction to workers who comes in late or leaves early.

The Central Jakarta’s Industrial Relations Court, partially granted the Union’s demands. Leading them to submit a case review petition to the Supreme Court, for reasons that the judgment was already final and binding (inkracht) when challenging the first instance court.  Unfortunately, Supreme Court Decision No. 117 PK/Pdt.Sus-PHI/2015 rejected the Union’s demand.

Unfair Dismissal

On 21 January 2013, a quality control operator who made only 2,5 million rupiah named Daryati of Tangerang was unlawfully terminated by her company, PT Natindo Adi Raya without proper grounds. Mrs. Daryati later filed a lawsuit with the Serang Industrial Relations Court.

During the mediation process, Mrs. Daryati successfully convinced the company that her mistake was not fatal. She was just following her superior’s instructions and did not have any ill intentions whatsoever. At the end the company decided to reemploy her.

However, during trial and mediation process, the company failed to fulfill their obligation and resulted in Mrs. Daryati filing a cassation petition to the Supreme Court, to force the company to fulfill her entitlement. However, Mahdi Soroinda, the presiding judge to the case sees that Mrs. Daryati is not entitled to any payment during the mediation process for reasons that she did not perform her duties accordingly at that time.

Severance Payment

Harisanto, who has been working for PT Sinar Abadi Indo Makmur’s for 14 consecutive years, was terminated for reasons that he was lazy during working hours.

Mr. Harisanto insisted that the termination was unlawful, because he was just taking a short drinking break. He then filed a lawsuit against his company to the Semarang Industrial Relations Court demanding fulfillment of his entitlements as an employee, including severance payment, service appreciation payment, and compensation for untaken leave. In total, Mr. Harisanto demanded the company to pay him a total sum of IDR 68 million.

On 17 September 2015, the court decided that Mr. Harisanto was entitled to severance payment and a compensation amounting to IDR 13 million. The company then decided to petition a cassation and claimed that the termination was Mr. Harisanto’s initiative and not the company’s. Luckily, the Supreme Court decision was in favor of MRs. Harisanto.

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