Indonesia: Briefing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Women and girl domestic workers

Report
January 1, 2011

Indonesia: Briefing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Women and girl domestic workers

View More Research


Amnesty International has been informed that the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration drafted a law on domestic workers in June 2006 to better regulate the conditions of domestic workers. The draft law(28) includes provisions pertaining to the age of domestic workers (Article 6),(29) their rights (Article 9),(30) and employers’ responsibilities and duties (Articles 13 and 14).(31) It also provides that a written contract between a domestic worker and the employer must contain certain elements(32) and that contracts may be oral or written (Article 20). Salary will be regulated by local authorities (Article 21.1). It further provides that domestic workers have the right to rest one day per week (Article 22.5) and have 12 days annual leave. Provisions on termination of employment are contained in Article 25. Sanctions against employers who fail to abide by this law are administrative (Article 28).

Despite the positive aspects of the draft law, Amnesty International is concerned that some of the ILO minimum standards on domestic workers(33) are missing. In particular, there is no mention of minimum wage, clearly defined daily hours of work and minimum rest periods; of provisions on night work and on overtime, including adequate compensation and subsequent and appropriate rest time; of provisions on public holidays, sick leave and maternity leave. Provisions for the special needs of women, which are included in the Manpower Act, are also missing.

Amnesty International was recently informed that the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, which is responsible for the bill, is prioritising a review of the Manpower Act and that the domestic worker legislation drafting process has been suspended until next year. This delay means that domestic workers will not have access to even the minimal legal protection offered under the draft domestic workers law for a very long time. However, the exploitation and abuse faced by domestic workers in Indonesia is happening every day, and the adequate protection of domestic workers is a matter of urgency. In light of this new context, Amnesty International hopes that the current review of the Manpower Act will be considered as an opportunity to extend key workers rights to all workers in Indonesia, including domestic workers. The draft legislation on domestic workers should also be prioritised along with this review to guarantee that the specific needs of domestic workers are fully protected in Law.

Amnesty International recommends the following to the Indonesian authorities:
· Ensure that the revised Manpower Act extends provisions on workers rights to all workers in Indonesia, including domestic workers, regardless of the status of their employer, and makes access to formal dispute mechanisms systems available to all;
· Ensure that specific legislation regulating the labour rights of domestic workers contains provisions which are consistent with international law and not less favourable than what is provided for in the Manpower Act;
· Ensure that the drafting and passing of such a legislation is given the highest priority by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and other relevant parties;
· Actively seek the participation of domestic workers and their representatives as well as of recruitment agencies and employers’ representatives in the drafting process.

Such legislation should contain provisions ensuring the equal protection of domestic workers’ rights in relation to:

· Reasonable limitation on working hours through clearly defined maximum hours of work per 24 hours and per week;
· Clear standards to ensure remuneration adequate to secure a life with dignity;
· Conditions for night work and overtime, including adequate compensation and subsequent appropriate rest time;
· Clearly defined weekly rest and leave periods (annual leave, public holidays, sick leave and maternity leave);
· Standards on termination of employment;
· Access to dispute resolution mechanisms, including courts.

4. Lack of access to information about sexual and reproductive rights (Article 12 – access to health)