Friday, May 31, 2024 | 05:44 WIB

Upgraded protection for Indonesian migrant workers

Jakarta, IO – The Minister of Manpower has signed Ministerial Regulation No. 4/2023 (Permenaker No. 4/2023) on social security for Indonesian Migrant Workers, replacing Ministerial Regulation No. 18/2018 (Permenaker No. 18/2018). In general, the contents of Permenaker No. 4/2023 are more refined than Permenaker No. 18/2018, as protection benefits for migrant workers are upgraded from before they depart to the destination countries, during their employment abroad and until they return to the home country. We should commend the Government for its endeavor to improve protection for migrant workers, particularly work-accident benefits (JKK) and death benefits (JKm). 

Article 30 paragraph (1) dictates that the JKK for migrant workers is given in healthcare services – treatment and medication due to work accidents in the host country – which were not provided previously. Other new benefits for migrant workers include the Home Care benefit with a maximum of IDR 20 million, hearing aid replacement of up to IDR 2.5 million and reimbursement of prescription glasses for up to IDR 1 million. 

Scholarships are given to a maximum of two children if a migrant worker, who has at least a 3-year participation period, dies due to a work-related accident or illness. The scholarships will be given from kindergarten to tertiary levels with details as follow: IDR 1.5 million (two years) for kindergarten level, IDR 1.5 million (six years) for elementary school level, IDR 2 million (three years) for junior high school level, IDR 3 million (three years) for high school level and IDR 12 million (four years) for higher education level. 

Transportation cost remuneration for workers involved in a work-related accident is also increased: IDR 5 million for land, river or lake transportation, a maximum of IDR 2 million for sea transportation and IDR 10 million for air transportation. Periodic compensation paid in a lump sum for permanent total disability due to work-related accidents is increased to IDR 12 million. Denture replacement is also increased to a maximum of IDR 5 million. 

Financial assistance for migrant workers who fail to leave for the host country where the workers are not at fault is raised from IDR 7.5 million to IDR 10 million. Migrant workers who are survivors of rape offenses will get damages of IDR 50 million. 

Meanwhile, the old age savings (JHT) program has not been made mandatory in Permenaker No. 4/2023. I believe the JHT program is necessary so that migrant workers who can no longer work because of old age can have savings to ensure their welfare. I hope migrant workers will not fall into poverty in their advanced years. 

As different host countries have different conditions, the requirement to participate in the JHT program should also be implemented gradually. It should start with host countries that facilitate easy banking access to migrant workers, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) has 243,959 active migrant worker participants (data of the end of August 2022), of whom 50.31 percent work in Taiwan and 13.77 percent work in Hong Kong.