Strengthening the regulations and monitoring of social security

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Timboel Siregar Advocacy Coordinator of BPJS Watch and General Secretary of All Indonesian Workers’ Organization-Indonesian Workers’ Society Confederation (Organisasi Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia-Konfederasi Rakyat Pekerja Indonesia – “OPSI-KRPI”)

IO – Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziah expressed her hope during the inauguration of the new Labor Social Security Administrator (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial – “BPJS”) office that the new Labor BPJS policies would improve workers’ welfare. Well-managed manpower social security programs will naturally support the welfare of workers and their families. 

However, all of the good lady’s hopes must be followed by the Ministry of Manpower’s commitment to support Labor BPJS, at least through regulations and monitoring (law enforcement). Workers’ welfare through manpower social security starts with good regulations and strong law enforcement. 

In terms of regulations, the Ministry of Manpower must support the welfare of Labor BPJS participants by improving the quality of the Supplemental Service Benefits (Manfaat Layanan Tambahan – “MLT”) that it provides. In this way, workers and their families don’t have to wait until the workers suffer from accidents at work, die, get dismissed or retire before obtaining welfare. They can obtain additional benefits to sustain themselves while waiting for death or retirement from investment returns, which is the principle behind the ninth, latest National Social Security System (Sistem Jaminan Sosial Nasional – “SJSN”). 

The new MLT is expected to help support the purchasing power of workers and their families, and help increase workers’ skills as well. The Housing MLT, which is regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower No. 35 of 2016, should be strengthened so it can help workers who do not yet have homes access housing more easily. Many workers still have not enjoyed the fruits of this Regulation of the Minister of Manpower No. 35. 

Furthermore, the provisions of Government Regulation No. 82 of 2019, which improve the scope and increase amount provided for Work Accident Security (Jaminan Kecelakaan Kerja – “JKK”) and Death Security (Jaminan Kematian – “JKm”) benefits, are not fully supported by relevant Ministry of Manpower executing regulations. Government Regulation No. 82 of 2019 revises Government Regulation No. 44 of 2015 concerning JKK and JKm by mandating the creation of the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower and also regulates scholarship for the children of workers who die at work. However, the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower remains incomplete to this day, and more than 100 children still have not received their scholarships after a worker parent died at work. The Board of Directors of Labor BPJS does not dare to pay out this scholarship without the legal basis of the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower mandated by Government Regulation No. 82 of 2019. 

Scholarships are acutely direly required during the new matriculation period for schools and colleges during the pandemic. With buying power impaired by the death of the earning worker who participated in the Labor BPJS scheme, the scholarship would be of great help to these children and their widowed parents. Yet the necessary Executing Regulation takes very long to complete. 

Problems besetting the Labor BPJS include: the fact that formal workers still participate in the scheme, that employers still do not pay out fees according to the actual wage rate of the workers, that some workers are registered in two, even three manpower social security programs. These problems are caused by weak manpower monitoring and law enforcement. Manpower inspectors at Central and Provincial levels are the weakest links in industrial relations, and Minister after Minister of Manpower have failed to improve the performance of these inspectors. We can only hope that the current Minister will break this tragic chain of failures… 

I say that if the current monitoring and law enforcement performance in manpower remains as the current level, the Minister’s hopes for Labor BPJS will remain a pipe dream. After all, manpower inspectors have failed to follow up and resolve so many violations of the rights of workers to social security for many years. So many of the cases that the All-Indonesian Workers’ Organization (Organisasi Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia – “OPSI”) has taken up remain unresolved. In fact, inspectors seem to prefer playing the waiting game and let these issues die out of desperation. 

Dear Minister of Manpower, please improve the performance of manpower monitoring and law enforcement at Central and Provincial levels, where it matters the most, and will trickle down. Set up a robust control and evaluation system for inspectors’ performance, one that will prevent them from colluding with employers to the detriment of workers. Generating and maintaining worker welfare through manpower social security starts from strict, powerful manpower regulations and monitoring.