The stalled Pre-Employment Card Program

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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 – The President has signed Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 76 of 2020 dated July 7, 2020, which is an update from Perpres No. 36 of 2020 concerning the Development of Work Competence through the Employment Card Program. This new Perpres was issued as an effort to improve the implementation of the Pre-Employment card program, which during the process caused many polemics in the community until the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) issued seven recommendations for improvement on the implementation of this Work Card. 

Reading this new Perpres, there were not many significant improvements in training. This regulation, even more, legitimizes the role of digital platform companies in providing training for participants of the Pre-Employment card program, which has been criticized by the public and the KPK. 

However, in the process of registering prospective participants, Presidential Regulation 76 opens the offline registration process for regions that have problems with the telecommunications network by involving the local government more. The registration process is also mandated to involve other institutions such as Employment BPJS and Health BPJS to further select prospective recipients so that this pre-employment card is more targeted. 

Considering that there are not many improvements raised by this Perpres, what has appeared in some media reports is the presence of Article 31C paragraph (3) and Article 31B. 

Article 31C paragraph (3) requires recipients of pre-employment cards that do not meet Article 3 paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5 (participants are job seekers, laid-off workers, non-wage micro-business workers, etc.) must return assistance costs for training and incentives. In my opinion Article 31C paragraph (3) is incorrect. 

Whereas with the strict process that has been determined in Perpres 76, this is the process of recruiting pre-employment card participants by referring to Article 11 paragraph (1a) concerning the process of accepting prospective pre-employment card participants based on population data or other data managed by government agencies, then Article 11 paragraph (1b) namely, the Employment Creation Committee, in collaboration with Institutions such as the Employment BPJS and Health BPJS, etc., the Employment Creation Committee should have carried out a rigorous and correct selection process so that the participants recruited were truly following Article 3 paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5. If there are participants who do not meet Article 3 paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5 then this is the negligence of the Committee that is unable to select prospective participants according to the provisions. 

It should be precisely the Employment Creation Committee that is unable to select properly and is given an evaluation and sanctions so that in the future they can work more professionally. Is not the Committee given the mandate to process selectively by collaborating with several institutions, to ensure that participants who are accepted are truly following existing provisions? 

If the orientation is to punish participants by being told to return training costs and incentives, then this article will make the Employment Creation Committee “casually” work without any burden, so that the potential implementation of pre-employment cards will not be maximized. Don’t blame the participants for negligence in implementing the selection. 

Related to Article 31B which gives immunity to the Employment Creation Committee for actions taken in good faith, in my opinion, this article is also not quite right. The sentence is based on good faith, I think it will be subjective, therefore the Committee should not have the immunity as stated in Article 31B. 

This article also makes the Employment Creation Committee “arbitrarily” work without any burden, while this program has a budget of IDR 20 Trillion. This article has the potential to open a space for fraud by the Committee. The big potential for fraud is in training funding and the presence of digital platform companies with training material content. 

Therefore, I urge the KPK and the community to continue to oversee the implementation of this Pre-Employment Card so that the program is right on target and not corrupted for the benefit of a handful of people. 

The Workers’ Card program is highly anticipated and expected by job seekers, laid-off workers, and informal workers who have difficulty working again, but Government policy still delays opening the fourth opening of this program. 

The Government should immediately invite participants in the fourth opening and so that the program can support the purchasing power of job seekers, laid-off workers, and informal workers who have difficulty working. Until the third opening, there were only 680 thousand participants accepted by the program from the target of 5.6 million. 

With training and assistance of 600 thousand Rupiah per month for four months, this pre-employment card will help the people’s purchasing power so that it can support the increase in economic development which is currently in decline. Allocated relief funds and incentives in the amount of IDR 20 Trillion will help move goods and services in the economy. 

Do not sacrifice the people because of the inability of the management of the pre-employment card program to execute this program. President Jokowi has warned that the existing funds be immediately executed, ironically the IDR 20 Trillion pre-employment card funds are already available, but why not implement it immediately? The President should have reprimanded the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, which until now has not yet announced the fourth opening of the pre-employment card program. Come on Mr. Coordinating Minister, immediately open the registration for the pre-employment card, don’t let it stagnate.