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 Part 3, the education of employees every employer must ensure. Here, you can look at Part 1 and Part 2 of our series.
Education of employees – employer requirements during PSBB
Those companies which are operating during the time of PSBB must educate their employees about COVID-19. The employer must ensure that all workers and their families have a correct understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. This serves the purpose that workers receive the necessary knowledge to independently take preventive and promotive actions to prevent the transmission and reduce excessive anxiety due to incorrect information.
Recommended actions with respect to the education of employees during PSBB
What information you should provide to your employees
The Guidelines set forth four categories of information on COVID-19:
· the causes of COVID-19 and how to prevent it;
· how to recognize the initial symptoms of COVID-19 and actions that must be taken when the symptoms arise;
· the recommended sanitary practices such as the proper washing of hands, ethics when coughing, etc.; and
· the relevant actions regarding reporting/examining once there is a suspected case of COVID-19.
Recommended actions : when you provide your employees with information on COVID-19 and how to prevent it, make sure that you provide information on all of the above four categories. Please see the following two sub-chapters on (i) how to provide such information and (ii) where you can access such information without having to draw up anything yourself.
How you should provide your employees with to the necessary information
It is impossible to “force” an employee to make all necessary efforts to fully understand the situation about COVID-19. You must therefore ensure that your employees at least have the possibility of informing themselves on relevant matters regarding COVID-19 at the workplace.
Recommended actions : to ensure that your employees have the possibility of informing themselves, we recommend one of the following:
· put posters/banners on the walls at the work place in highly frequented areas such as the entrance to the workplace, the canteen, rest areas, next to the entrance of prayer rooms, etc.;
· provide for audio/video information in such locations;
· send e-mails to your work force;
· send messages via phone (SMS, WhatsApp, etc.) to your work force.
There is no requirement to do all of the above. As such, if your company does not have the means to provide for video messages, you are not under an obligation to purchase screens now.
It is important to note that you should also periodically remind your employees. We therefore recommend that you send out one message/e-mail every week.
Where you can obtain the information to disperse
The Guidelines point out the website www.covid19.go.id, which provides education materials.
Recommended action : go to the sub-site https://covid19.go.id/edukasi/materi-edukasi to download all necessary materials free of charge. The information is provided in the form of JPEG files and can be printed out easily and/or shared easily via e-mail / messages.
We recommend only using the information provided at www.covid19.go.id as this is the official government website.
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.
With respect to the providing of information, the Guidelines are very straightforward. Should you nevertheless require our advice, we are always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.