Editorial board (The Jakarta Post)
Tue, January 31 2023
Creating legislation that regulates the employment of domestic workers sounds like a novelty, but we have to set a time frame of perhaps 10 years at most before bringing these workers, who do menial but important work in our homes, under the country’s labor laws, like any other worker. When that happens, we won’t need a separate law that discriminates against domestic workers.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered the House of Representatives to speed up deliberation on the domestic workers bill. Until the President raised the issue, the bill had been dormant for nearly two decades, under the silence of government, politicians and even civil society organizations, which were usually vocal.
Domestic workers, which include all household employees such as cooks, cleaners, babysitters, caregivers, gardeners and security guards, currently do not enjoy any legal protection because Indonesia’s labor laws do not regard them as formal workers. They typically work long hours for a pittance and often do not receive full weekends or holiday bonuses. Many endure physical and emotional abuse, and there is little recourse for them under existing labor laws.
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