Indonesia’s House of Parliament is pushing for the passage of a bill that would raise mandatory maternity leave from three months to six. However, not all stakeholders are in favour of the changes, with the Indonesia Employers Association raising objections, citing an increased burden on companies.
The bill on Maternal and Child Welfare is included in the list of National Legislation Program Priority 2022 and is expected to be endorsed at the next government plenary session, after passing the House of Representatives endorsement in mid-June.
The government views the legislative changes as a significant move forward in improving work participation for women and enhancing the caring role of fathers in the family unit. However, the Indonesia Employers Federation has objected to a number of elements in the new bill, suggesting that the enhanced leave arrangements will prompt some companies to hire men in favour of women to avoid the business impact and cost of the new leave provisions. Additionally, they suggest the changes are financially burdensome for many employers still rebuilding after the impact of the pandemic.
The new bill will see maternal parental leave increase from 3 months to 6 months (on full pay for 3 months and 75% pay for the next 3 months). The new bill will also endorse a significant increase in leave for women experiencing a miscarriage – from 3 or 4 days to 1.5 months. Additionally, parental leave for fathers will increase from 2 days to 40 days. Enhancements to nursing and childcare facilities at workplaces also form part of the new bill.
With thanks, Alvira Wahjosoedibjo and Yesi Samosir of Baker McKenzie in Indonesia have provided the following general insights on workplace obligations surrounding lactating and working mothers:
Article 4 of the Draft Law provides that a working mother is entitled to an opportunity and place for lactation (to breastfeed, to prepare and/or keep breast milk during working time). This is in line with the existing Article 83 of the 2003 Labor Law, which provides that “a female worker whose child is still breastfeeding must be given an appropriate opportunity to breastfeed her baby if it must be done during working hours” (unofficial English translation). However, Article 83 does not expressly require employers to provide a place for lactation (though in practice many do). In addition, Article 22 paragraph 4 of the Draft Law specifies an obligation for employers to accommodate adjustments to the work, working time, and/or working location of working mothers, by taking into account the working goals and conditions.
Outlook for employers – With a likelihood that the bill will pass into law, employers should review their existing leave policies to understand where enhancements will be required. Additionally, take time to review the specific details surrounding nursing and working mother obligations which will also come into force for both public and private employers.