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Has Indonesia’s Labor and Employment Law Brings Justice to All Laborers?

Indonesia government has regulated the labor and employment law. The question is, is that enough to protect the laborers?


“There shall be a regulation concerning manpower and laborers to protect their rights, to give them basic protection when working, and to make a conducive condition that gives big impact to the business and the development of the country.”


People tend to argue about the definition of the laborer and the rights that belong to them. Especially in May Day or May 1st, every year the laborers go on strike to protest about the unfortunate experience in their workplace, from the problem of being overworked, ambiguous contracts, to the salary issues.  Nonetheless, no how many times the protests strike, the labor problems seem to keep arising and remain unsolved.


In addition, in some big cities of Indonesia, working overtime is considered as something usual. As a matter of fact, in some sectors, the laborers are not paid when they work overtime, because it is considered as a sign of loyalty to the company. It is such an irony to talk about the loyalty to the company, when the enterprise does not really care about the rights of their employees. In some cases, the enterprise treats workers like the production tools.


Many people work hard and do not really care about their rights as long as they can get by. Sadly, there are also cases where entrepreneurs and employers don’t pay attention to the rights of labors and take advantages from the dependence of labors on their wage. It is something like this that creates imbalance and unfairness for labors. Hence, the government of Indonesia has established the laws to protect the needs of both employer and employees. And it is necessary for the labors and the entrepreneurs to understand about the labor and employment law in Indonesia.


Things You Need to Know About Labor and Employment Law in Indonesia


Concerning this problem, it is necessary for the laborers to understand their rights and their position in the workplace. In Indonesia, the rights and the obligation of the laborers have been regulated in the Act of The Republic of Indonesia Number 13 of 2003 about labor and employment

In this act, it is defined that a laborer or worker is every person who works for a wage or other forms of remuneration. The laborer or worker is given a job by the employer. Still, in the same act, the employer refers to the individuals, entrepreneurs, legal entities, or other bodies that employ manpower by paying them the wage or other forms of remuneration.

Equality shall be applied to every laborer without exception. Every single person who is available for a job must have the same opportunity to get the job, to be treated in the workplace, and to get the decent wage and remunerations.

The act also manages the job training, apprenticeship, as well as job placement and contract. Either a person is a permanent employee or a contract employee, an enterprise must fulfill their rights based on the regulation of that act.



The Labor and Employment Law from Several Perspectives


Fundamentally, the labor and employment law is situated between the public and the private law. This law is also divided into two kinds: individual labor and employment law, and collective labor and employment law. The law is individual when it comes to the working contract, and it becomes collective when we talk about the strike action and the laborers union.

The labor and employment law concerns to the working contract, employment termination, the protection to laborers, their right, the responsibility system, the right for the laborers to make the union as well as the entrepreneur to make some associations, and the state control regarding this law. Hence, we can see the labor and employment law from many perspectives.

From the gender perspective, the labor and employment law shall manage the equality between men and women to get a job and to receive wage or remuneration. In The Act of Number 13 of 2003 of labor and employment in Indonesia, the article 6 states that every laborer has the right to receive equal treatment without discrimination. Specifically, there are also some articles that concern about women in the employment.

In the article 76, it is mentioned that employ female laborers aged less than 18 years between 11 pm until 7 am is prohibited. Also, the entrepreneur must not employ pregnant female laborers in the condition that, according to the doctor, the job can put themselves and their wombs at risk.

If the entrepreneur employs the female workers to work between 11 P.M-7 A.M, they have to provide them with food and drinks and maintaining the security and morality in the workplace. It is also obligated for the entrepreneur to provide roundtrip transport for female workers who work between 11 P.M to 5 A.M. Based on those articles, we can conclude that there is actually a special treat for the female in The Law of Labor and Employment in Indonesia.

In relation to children’s rights perspective, it has been mentioned in The Act No. 13 of 2003 in the article 68, that entrepreneurs are not allowed to employ children. However, the exemption is cited in the article 69. The employment for the children between 13-15 years old is permitted as long as it is light work and the job doesn’t damage their development, physically, mentally, and socially. The entrepreneur also has the written permission from the parents or the guardian and must not require the children to work more than 3 hours per day.

In the article 70-74, it is mentioned that the children might be allowed to work in some condition. For example, a piece of work as the part of school curriculum, or the job to develop their talents and interest. The job must not bother their time to study and play. It is also prohibited to employ the children in the jobs related to slavery, prostitution, pornography, gambling, alcoholic beverage trade, narcotics and other addictive substance trade, and other kinds of harmful job.



Regarding the Children Convention of United Nations in 1989, there are 10 rights of the children that need to be fulfilled. First, the right to play. Second, the right to get a proper education. Third, the right to get the protection. Fourth, the right to get the identity. Fifth, the right to get national status. Six, the right to get the proper foods. Seventh, the right to get healthcare access. Eighth, the right to get the recreation. Ninth, the right to be equal, and the las, the right to have the role in the country development. All the entrepreneurs and employers who employ the children, have to fulfill those rights.

The law of labor and employment, as seen from the ideal perspective, must not only be profitable to the entrepreneurs but also give attention to the laborers and also give them protection. Compared to the entrepreneurs, the laborers are weaker in position.

Also, as seen from the economic perspective, the law of labor and employment shall improve the welfare of the laborers and must support the growth of the economics of a country –in this case, in Indonesia-. Therefore, the law has to manage the ideal working time to support the production activities, and also the wage and the remunerations.


Related Artcicle: Validity Of Electronic Signatures In Indonesia Online Transaction? 


The Development of The Labor and Employment Law in Indonesia.



The condition of Indonesia’s labor and employment is quite dynamic. Regarding The Act of Number 13 of 2003 about labor and employment, from 2003 until 2008, there have been many updates regarding The Act of Number 13 of 2003 of labor and employment in Indonesia. Supreme Courts (Mahkamah Agung) has fully accepted, partially accepted, and refused some of the articles that have been tested. Some decisions have been made

  1. 12/PUU/I/2003: The decision was made after the test done to all the articles. Some of the articles have no legal forces and some of the articles are cleared to give more justice for the laborers.
  2. 115/PUU-VII/2009: The abolition/termination of the article 120 point 1 and 2 due to its contradiction with the 1945 Constitution
  3. 19/PUU-IX/2011: In the article 164, the work termination can be done if the enterprise is closed permanently so that the entrepreneur cannot do the work termination with the reason of efficiency.
  4. 27/PUU-IX/2011: The Supreme Court decided two kinds of protection to the outsourcing laborer in the article 65 point 7 and 66 point 2b.
  5. 37/PUU-IX/2011: Regarding the article 155 point 2, in every conflict of the rights and the work termination, the laborers, and the entrepreneurs must do their obligations until there is the decision with the legal force.
  6. 58/PUU-IX/2011: Regarding the article 169 point 1c, the laborers can demand the work termination if the entrepreneurs cannot pay the wage/remuneration about 3 consecutive months, although the wage/remuneration is paid after that time.
  7. 100/PUU-X/2012: Declaring that the article 96 is contradictive with the 1945 Constitution. However, The Constitution Judge Hamdan Zoelva had the dissenting opinion regarding this decision.
  8. 67/PUU-XI-2013: The article 95 verse 4 is contradictive with the 1945 Constitution, therefore the article must be terminated in the test.
  9. 7/PUU-XII/2014: The contract laborers can take legal action to court to get the status as permanent laborers, as long as they have done the bipartite negotiation and under examination of the employment inspector.
  10. 72/PUU-XII/2015: Regarding the article 90 point 2, after the suspension of minimum wage implementation is over, the entrepreneur has to implement the minimum wage of that time, and pay all the minimum wage at the suspension time
  1. 13/PUU-XV-2017: The change of the article 53 point 1f. Therefore, the entrepreneurs are not allowed to terminate the laborer who is related by blood or marriage to another laborer, unless there is another requirement on the work agreement or the enterprise’s rule and regulation before.

In the future, there might be a chance for other enhancements, if there are any application either from the laborers or the entrepreneurs’ side regarding the law of laborer and employment.



The Importance of Having a Legal Assistance Regarding The Law of Labor and Employment



Despite all the things regarding the employment that has been regulated in that act, there are still many cases related to the breach of the employment contract and rights in Indonesia. There are also many critics to the law of labor and employment in Indonesia. That law is sometimes considered as a weak law, that can’t truly protect the laborers from the injustice.


In 2017, PT Alpen Food Industry (AFI) allegedly has violated the rights of its laborers. Known for its notable ice cream products, Aice, turned out that the reality inside PT. AFI was not as sweet as its cheap ice-creams. There were no contracts for the laborers who work there, and they got paid under the minimum wage with minimum day-off.


There was also no protection for the pregnant women. They didn’t give the laborers The Healthcare and Social Security, and the wage would be cut for the laborers who were sick during their work. Since there were many protests against PT AFI, in the last 2017, PT AFI has fulfilled all the laborers’ right. However, it took many times and sacrifice before that notable enterprise treats its laborers as human-beings.


Not only the private company, Pertamina, a state-owned enterprise, also had the problem related to the employment. In the middle of 2017, hundreds of Pertamina’s tank drivers protested this oil company due to the work termination. They also didn’t get paid for working overtime. This is so ironic since Pertamina is known as a very reputable state-owned enterprise. Many fresh-graduate people compete to be accepted by that company due to its good wage.



Still in 2017, a prominent media group in Indonesia, PT. MNC Group (Media Nusantara Citra Grup), had dismissed about 300 laborers. This termination happened because MNC wanted to change the business model. MNC Group had some newspaper products, from Sindo Newspaper to Genie and Mom&Kiddie Tabloid. People nowadays tend to read online and rarely buy the newspaper.


However, the termination happened suddenly, without warning and that was such a violation of The Law of Labor and Employment. But, there was no further action regarding this violation, and just like the other violations, the news just gone by the wind. The laborers can’t get their rights and nothing that they can do about it.


Since the huge enterprises have all the capitals, they tend to violate all the laborers’ right. The laborers, even though they already knew all their rights, they have no bravery to accuse and to sue the big enterprise because it will take their time and also their money to bring these cases to the courts. Also, the big enterprises can do anything just to shut their laborers. They can treat their laborers with the work termination or with other harsh action.


There was the example of how the enterprise threat their laborers. In 2013, PT Doosan Cipta Buana sued their laborers around 2 billion rupiah due to the demonstration held to ask for the wage increases and the end of outsourcing system. That enterprise claimed that the demonstration led to any loss in production, and that is the reason why they sued their laborers.


Therefore, this is where the laborers union play the role. The laborers union have to care about the laborers’ problem, especially when it comes to the rights of violation. Many laborers don’t understand about their rights in The Act of No. 13 2003, because the act is somewhat too long to read, and almost all the enterprises don’t educate their laborers about their rights.


One of the laborer unions, Sindikasi (Serikat Pekerja Media dan Industri Kreatif/The Union of Media and Creative Industry Laborers) once stated on its Instagram account that there are many injustices happened to the creative workers.


From the lack of support of the government to the work overtime without getting paid. Not only demanding the enterprise to obey the law of labor and employment, but Sindikasi also asks all the creative workers to understand their rights. This thing plays the vital role to make the government realize that not all the enterprise has obeyed the rule made by the government, and the government shall take action in that.


What if the common people don’t clearly understand their rights as the laborers? Therefore, the legal assistance can be needed when they stuck in a conflict between them and their enterprise. The legal assistance can give advice to the laborers on which points that the enterprises have violated, how serious is that and which steps that they shall take. Apply a serious case to the court without the legal assistance will give people more trouble and less solution.


In searching for the right legal assistance, someone must pay attention to the reputation of the law firm that will give them the legal assistance. He/she has to make sure that the law firm and the lawyer they chose will provide the best advice and very efficient in the cost.


For the best legal assistance, also in the labor and employment problem, BP Lawyers can be a good choice. BP Lawyer has the purpose of giving full achievement to the client’s objectives and always assisting their clients until they reach the goals. BP Lawyers understands that legal issues are considered as something complicated to common people. That is the main reason why many people won’t notice their rights and most of them never really read their work contract.


Come from that problem, then BP Lawyers commits to giving the simplest solution to certain areas of law, and it is included the dispute of employment and labor. By having the best legal assistance from BP Lawyers, there is a big chance to end the dispute and the problem between enterprises and the labors can be solved.


BP Lawyers can help you: we can assist you in providing the best solution to the legal program of your business or your company’s.  You can contact us via or +62821-1234-1235


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