The purpose of this writing is to know what law protections which are the rights of labor force, particularly the ones working in palm oil plantations and do not have a Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial (BPJS) Ketenagakerjaan (Social Security Administration Body – Manpower) membership yet.
A subscription to a BPJS Ketenagakerjaan program provides insurance coverage of Jaminan Kecelakaan Kerja/JKK (covers instances of work accidents), Jaminan Kematian/JKm ( covers instances of death), Jaminan Hari Tua/JHT (covers instances of old age / retirement), & Jaminan Pensiun/JP (covers pension).
There is also a penalty to employers (companies) which fail to register its employees to the program and/or fail to pay its employees’ subscription fees. This penalty, under Undang-Undang (statute) no. 24, ch. 15, year 2011, could result in a written warning to the company, eight years of imprisonment, and/or a fine of IDR 1.000.000.000.
However, the implementation of BPJS Ketenagakerjaan is currently unable to cover all the labor force working in palm oil plantations. It’s usually only given to permanent employees. Companies also usually lie by claiming that all permanent labors have been enrolled on BPJS Ketenagakerjaan.
On another hand, there is also the issue that their BPJS Ketenagakerjaan subscription program don’t consist of the 4 (four) insurance coverage, only some instances are insured.
The role of labor force in national development is still growing, with the risk and responsibility and also the challenge in its growth. It is imperative to provide protection, maintenance, and prosperity for them.
Furthermore, this could also increase their working productivity in advance. The need of a law protection for labor force could arise from their weak bargaining position. Zainal Asikin stated, “Law protection from employers could be implemented if there is a constitutional/regulation for labor forceforcing employers to respect the regulation, providing access to more stakeholders. This is because positions in law cannot be measured as judicial sense only, but also as sociological and philosophical.”.
The reason why companies fail to comply with BPJS Ketenagakerjaan policy is because of the presence of financial issue and the facts that workers’ employment type vary from pekerja harian (daily labor force), pekerja kontrak (contracted labor force), and borongan (labor force working without any recognition/contract/acknowledgement-only paid by their output, no employment historical record).
The constitution regulating BPJS Ketenagakerjaan states that membership to a BPJS Ketenagakerjaan program is granted to a person, including foreigners who have worked at least six months in Indonesia and have paid their necessary fees to stay.
In a dialogue between BPJS Ketenagakerjaan and Serikat Pekerja / Serikat Buruh (Workers Union / Labor Union) in Sumatera Utara (North Sumatra), it was stated that the obstacles faced consist of synchronizing employees’ data either in company level or in the Dinas Ketenagakerjaan & Transmigrasi (Office of Manpower &Transimagration), in the provincial level.
Currently, the total members of BPJS Ketenagakerjaan account to only one million in number, and that has already included the manufacturing industry labor force. On the other hand, the number of labor force working in palm oil plantations amount to as many as 1,1 million people.
Peraturan Presiden (Presidential Decree) no. 111 year 2013 about the changes to Peraturan Presiden no. 12 year 2013 for Health Security requires employers or large-scale companies, small (micro)-medium economies, and state-owned companies to register all their employees and pay their monthly fees by the latest of 1 January 2015.
Failure to comply could result in a written report, punishment, and/or restriction of access to certain public services (in accordance to Peraturan Pemerintah (Governmental Decree) no. 86 year 2013). In addition, under Undang-Undang no. 24 year 2011 about BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, the BPJS Ketenagakerjaan program is to be wholly implemented on 1 July 2015.
It has been five years since the bill has passed, and it’s still looking quite grim for our labor force here in the palm oil sector. As much as 65% of the labor force from each palm oil plantation companies consist of Buruh Harian Lepas (daily workers labor force).
A majority of them are women who are exposed to chemical substances from working maintenance, such as spraying fertilizers. Dinas Ketenagakerjaan & Transmigrasi audit findings show that in the provincial level, a majority of companies: only enroll half of their workers to BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, only complies to half of all social security programs, and only pay half of the supposed salary to their workers. This condition being perpetuated for half a decade already is demanding more attention and concrete solutions from us.
The government should take a serious response because the legal precedence for monitoring, improving, and also prosecution is clear. In order for BPJS Ketenagakerjaan to have a stronger basis and to be implemented more effectively, actions have been undertaken, consisting of: partnership forming with Serikat Pekerja / Serikat Buruh, socializations to workers /labor force, and socializations to company management regarding the program and benefits of BPJS Ketenagakerjaan.
There are still workers / labor force who are unaware about the benefits and advantages of BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, so public tends to think that this program is still unsuccessful.
Then the Guidance and Supervision Staff of the Manpower Office (Disnaker) are demanded to be more serious and assertive in terms of imposing sanctions on employers who are negligent in carrying out their obligations.
Lack of firmness in the implementation of supervision and enforcement of these sanctions will have an impact on the conditions of workers/labors, and unions because they feel they are not being protected.
The work risks experienced by oil palm plantation workers are not only in the form of work accidents in general but the threat of wild animals also haunts them. If in the coming years this condition is not fixed, it will lead to argument that the government is considered to be more pro-employers than workers/labors.
With these improvements, the legal protection program can change from what was previously minimal to become real for palm oil plantation workers.