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COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines – What You Must Know Not to Breach the Law (Part 2)

Indonesia, like virtually all other countries around the world, has issued various decrees over the last few months to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. These decrees among others provide for social distancing and require that employees work from home. [1]

However, exemptions apply and some companies are allowed to keep open despite the measures taken. These companies must take various measures and the Ministry of Health recently issued a decree on Workplace Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), [2] setting out clear details of what obligations there are both during the period of social distancing (PSBB) and once the period of PSBB will have terminated.

The Guidelines provide for rules on

(i) Management Policies to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19;

(ii) Protocols in the workplace for those still coming to work during the period of PSBB;

(iii) The information of Workers about COVID-19; and

(iv) Coordination between companies and the local government in the handling of COVID-19.

In Jakarta, sanctions for violations of PSBB are in place [3] and the same applies to West Java. [4] in Jakarta, workplaces operating during PSBB that do not implement the proper protocols to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 are subject to administrative sanctions in the form of a written warning and administrative fines of at least IDR 25 million and a maximum of IDR 50 million. Additionally, companies could also be subject to claims from employees. We therefore highly recommend that you follow the Guidelines and all other rules in place.

To make sure that you are well-informed at all times, we will provide an overview of the Guidelines sub-chapter by sub-chapter and then recommend what action you take. Today, we look at what measures must be taken at the worker level. Here, you can look at Part 1 of our series.

Measures taken at the working level during PSBB

Broadly speaking, the measures which must be taken at the working level during PSBB consist of the following

(i) measures to prevent that infected Essential Workers enter the work place;

(ii) measures to strengthen the overall health and physical condition of Essential Workers; and

(iii) measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if an infected Essential Workers has entered the workplace.

Recommended actions with respect to measures to be taken at the working level during PSBB

Measures to prevent that infected Essential Workers enter the work place

At the entrance of the workplace, you must arrange for a temperature check of every employee entering the workplace. The Guidelines provide for the use of an infrared thermometer (thermogun). Furthermore, before entering the work place, each worker must fill out a special form (Form 1).

Recommended action : Make sure to check the temperature of every worker. If the temperature exceeds 37.3 Celcius, such worker must not be allowed access.

You must also collect and keep Form 1 of every employee. You can download Form 1 here. If the responses on the form point out that the worker is above the “no risk” (risiko kecil) on Form 1, you should not admit the worker to the workplace on that day.

We highly recommend collecting the Form 1 so that you have evidence later to show authorities that you complied with the Guidelines.

Measures to strengthen the overall health and physical condition of Essential Workers

It is well-known that those suffering from weak health and older persons are more severely affected by COVID-19 than others. Having this in mind, the Guidelines provide for several actions to be taken which strengthen the overall health and physical condition of Essential Workers.

Avoiding overtime during PSBB

Employers should avoid overtime for employees during PSBB as a lack of rest will have a negative effect on the Essential Workers’ immune system.

Recommended action : do not instruct any overtime during the PSBB period unless absolutely necessary. In addition to the Guidelines, this could also be very negatively received by your workforce.

Vitamin C intake

The Guidelines require to regulate the nutritional intake of food provided at the workplace. The Guidelines specifically make reference to fruits that contain lots of Vitamin C.

Recommended action : If you are not already doing it, we recommend that you offer a well-balanced diet in your company canteen and local fruits containing Vitamin C, in particular. These are inexpensive. The Guidelines also propose Vitamin C supplements. However, this is a mere proposal, so there is no obligation.

No night shifts for people over 50

The Guidelines remind companies to avoid assign night shifts if possible. When night shifts cannot be avoided, workers above age 50 cannot be assigned.

Recommended action : if possible, avoid night shifts. When they cannot be avoided, be sure that no worker assigned for a night shift is older than 50 years.

Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if an infected Essential Workers has entered the workplace

The wearing of face masks

According to the Guidelines, employers must require Essential Workers to wear masks on their way to and from work as well as while at work

Recommended action : make the wearing of face masks an obligation in your company premises by all means. Face masks have become the symbol of COVID-19 countermeasures and not requiring your Essential Workers to wear them would certainly not be regarded well. It is an obligation which is easy to impose.

This is different when it comes to the Essential Workers’ way to and from work. Except in those instances when you provide transport for your Essential Workers, you have no control. We therefore recommend that you inform your Essential Workers that they should wear face masks on all trips to and from work. Make sure that you repeat this information every week.

Cleaning and air circulation at the work place

You must ensure that cleaning of all work areas with disinfectants takes place every four hours. Special attention must be paid highly frequented locations as well as to areas which are touched by many persons (e.g. door handles, elevator buttons, etc.). Furthermore, you must ensure that there is sufficient air circulation/sunlight.

Recommended action : have a specific cleaning plan according to which all highly frequented locations, such as the entrance to the workplace, the canteen, etc. are cleaned regularly. Likewise, make such cleaning plan for hand rails, door knobs, elevator buttons, shared equipment, etc. The cleaning plan should ideally be one where the person cleaning will be able to put the time and a signature. Make sure that cleaning takes place at least every four hours and keep records so that you have something to show to authorities, if necessary.

The requirement to optimize air circulation and ensure that sunlight enters the work space is not easy to meet in reality. There may be locations where there are no windows or where the windows are covered. We recommend that you apply reasonable efforts in allowing sunlight inside the work space. Also inform your workers that they should do so and send a weekly reminder.

Finally, make sure that you services your air conditioner system if you haven’t done so in 2020 yet. It is better to pay for the servicing of your air conditioning system than risking fines and further troubles with the authorities. A company which can show that it even underwent a servicing of its air conditioning system will certainly look much better than one which did not.

Hand washing and disinfecting at the work place

You are required to make sure that regular and correct hand washing occurs regularly at your work space.

Recommended action : the Guidelines are very specific as to the requirements. We therefore highly recommend that you follow the below specifically:

• provide for a large number of locations where Essential Workers can wash their hands. Provide running water and soap;

• indicate the locations for the hand washing facilities clearly;

• put informational posters about hand washing next to the facilities;

• encourage your Essential Workers to wash their hands with soap regularly and, in particular,

• when they arrive at work;

• before meals; after contact with customers / meetings with others;

• after going to the bathroom; and

• after touching shared objects.

• provide for hand sanitizers with a minimum alcohol concentration of 70% in highly frequented areas

Physical distancing at the work place (Part III)

Physical Distancing is arguably the most effective measure to stop the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, it is also required at the work place.

Recommended action : your Essential Workers must leave at least one meter between each work station / office desk, etc. You must also ensure the social distancing at the canteen and recreational facilities.

Etiquette for coughing (Part IV)

To avoid the spread of COVID-19, there is a specific cough etiquette to which your Essential Workers should adhere to.

Recommended action : inform your Essential Workers that they must cover their mouth and nose with their upper arm when coughing. They should not cover their mouth/nose with their hands. If they use a tissue to cover their mouth/nose, they should dispose of that tissue and wash their hands with soap and running water immediately afterwards.

How Schinder Law Firm can help

We take the Guidelines very seriously and so should you. The efforts to fight COVID-19 should be combined and concerted – and this can only be achieved when the Guidelines are followed. The threat of having to pay IDR 50 million may not be a significant deterrent. However, you should keep in mind that enraging the authorities at these times may lead to much more trouble for you, including inspections, checks and audits. This is particularly critical in times when the government is in need of funds. This should therefore be reason enough to follow the Guidelines to the letter.

In practice, this is not always easy as the Guidelines are not very detailed. They do not determine several key terms, as can be seen from the above, and you may run the risk of hefty fines and/or other measures if you do not know how to implement the Guidelines.

We have therefore compiled several standard documents, such as a protocol for suspected cases; written information communications to your employees and a system which guarantees that you fulfil your duty to not stigmatize.

Our lawyers also regularly advise foreign investors and local entities with respect to the Guidelines and other COVID-19 measures by the government. To learn more how we can assist you in prevailing during these challenging times, write us at info@schinderlawfirm.com.



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