TEMPO/Prima mulia

‘Catastrophic’ Omnibus Bill on Job Creation Passed into Law

The passage of the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation into law without adequate consultations exposes the authorities’ lack of commitment to human rights, Amnesty International Indonesia said today as the House of Representative of Indonesia rushed to approve the legislation ahead of the announced date.

“This is a catastrophic law. It will harm workers’ wallets, job security and their human rights as a whole,” said Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director.

“The drafting process didn’t follow meaningful consultations. Labor unions and civil society groups should have been involved in the drafting process from the very beginning.”

“The law threatens human rights and will have a regressive effect on human rights in Indonesia, namely on the right to work and rights at work. This may amount to a breach of the prohibition of retrogression under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The unclear provision in the law on the minimum wage and working hours does not meet the requirements of the Covenant and will give dangerous leeway for employers to massively exploit workers across the country.”

“Moreover, the law allows employers to keep workers on temporary contracts for an indefinite period of time and may potentially exempt employers from their obligation to place workers on permanent contracts. The provision has a potential risk to enhance the insecurities at work and leaving millions of workers without adequate protection. This is a step back from existing legislation and international human rights standards, which recommend gradual elimination of “non-standard” forms of employment.”

“The House should revisit the law to ensure it is compliant with internationally protected workers’ rights as soon as possible.”

Background

The Omnibus Law on Job Creation passed today, 5 October 2020, may lead to human rights violations. Since its early introduction, there has been some problematic provisions and procedures that endanger the right to take part in public affairs, right to work and rights at work:

• The drafting process of the bill was overly opaque. The Government claims to have involved 14 trade unions as part of the public consultation process – a claim rejected by those unions, stating that they were not included from the beginning. That means there was no open and honest interaction between public authorities and all members of society in producing the bill. Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights defines the obligation of States parties to take part in the conduct of public affairs. All citizens, since they will be impacted by the rules and regulations, must be able to exercise their right in public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives. The discussion process also violated the right to information as it was closely conducted on non-working days.
• The law in its current form would violate workers’ rights to just and favourable conditions of work as prescribed under Article 7 of the ICESCR. These conditions include fair wages, equal pay for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, reasonable limitations on working hours, and equality of treatment in employment.
• Under the Omnibus Bill, workers can be forced to work extra hours for no extra income. It regulates that workers in specific sectors will have their own schemes to calculate the rate of overtime compensation. The ILO Forced Labour Convention 1930 (No.29) prohibits all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.

For Amnesty Indonesia’s previous analysis of the Omnibus Law, please see this August press release.