2015 Nov 18
November 18, 2015

Indonesia: The domestic workers dilemma

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Indonesian domestic workers abroad face a mountain of dilemma, including legal issues. Here is a brief overview of the situation in Singapore.

Singapore, GIVnews.com – Issues surrounding Indonesian Domestic Workers seem to be never-ending. With 429.872 Indonesian working abroad, the Indonesian government will do its best to protect the country’s asset: its people.

In Singapore, where a lot of Indonesian domestic workers work, is no exception to this matter. There are a lot of challenges that these workers are facing in Singapore. One of them for example is legal assistance. Legal cases that arise among these workers are “criminal cases, breach of working contract, and disharmony with employers”, as reported by antaranews.com.

Nevertheless, the prospect of finding legal assistance is not really problematic as Singapore is reportedly “A country with a good legal system in order to protect foreign workers”. Moreover, Singaporean authority is rather responsive upon receiving reports from Indonesian workers with regards to legal violation. For instance, it is reported that in the case that an employer hurt his or her worker, the Singaporean authority will quickly act on the matters.

On the other hand, Indonesian government is becoming more proactive in protecting its domestic workers in Singapore. Apart from providing shelter in Indonesian embassy for those in needs, the Indonesian government, through its embassy, also acts as a facilitator on the issue of compensation amount and working extension. For workers who ended up in prison, Indonesian government, through its embassy, claimed that it had already made 16 routine visits during 2014.

In order to give maximum protection, it is also reported that the government has negotiated with Singaporean authority to end the practice of direct hiring. With direct hiring, Indonesian government could not accurately track the number of domestic workers in Singapore. In contrast, without direct hiring, Indonesian workers must go abroad through the so-called Private Executor of Indonesian Workers Placement (PPTKIS. Such practice is already in accordance with Act No. 39.

Meanwhile, despite all of the efforts to protect Indonesian domestic workers abroad, Indonesian government has already decided to stop sending informal workers from 2017 onwards. – Muhammad Arham, 12 November 2015, Global Indonesian Voices