"Of course, we look at this as the authority of the Manpower Ministry to ensure that workers' rights are upheld," ILO senior program officer, Lusiani Julia, told ANTARA in Jakarta on Thursday.
Amid news of many people losing jobs and companies suffering losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah has issued a circular requiring companies to pay Religious Holiday Allowances 2020 to workers in spite of the current crisis.
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In the circular, the minister has asked all companies to pay religious holiday allowances to workers, in accordance with the legislation.
However, the minister has also kept room for employees, employers, and labor unions to find a solution if employers are unable to afford paying allowances within the specified time.
Lusiani said he is aware that the circular is also aimed at alleviating the financial burden on companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We also fairly appreciate the circular, which stipulates that the allowances must be paid. Although the method of payment will certainly not satisfy the labor unions much because the payment can be made gradually," he remarked.
This slightly contradicts the implementation regulation, which requires employers to pay allowances two weeks ahead of the religious holiday, he pointed out.
“But, I think if the situation is very urgent, like this, where companies can prove that they cannot afford to pay the allowances, it is possible for them to take steps based on a common agreement," he said.
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