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Indonesian businesses told to extend protection to stressed workers

Indonesian employers must provide practical support to minimise employee stress under a new ministerial regulation, which extends safety and health protection to workers.

Indonesian businesses told to extend protection to stressed workers
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The government’s new regulation requires employers to ensure that workers have a good work-life balance and expands existing protection for blue-collar workers to other employees who work in less physically hazardous environments. 

In Indonesia it is not uncommon for some employees to work seven days a week. 

Data published by Sindikasi, a media and creative workers union, showed that 32% of its members worked more than 48 hours a week. Indonesia’s 2013 Manpower Law states that a regular working week should not exceed 40 hours. 

In April, the Manpower Ministry replaced occupational health standards from 1964 with a new set of occupational safety and health standards. The latest announcement will see psychological wellbeing added to the new OSH regulation.

As well as stress management, employers will also have to provide work training and counselling. Employees must also be given the opportunity to raise concerns about pressures at work, including workloads and managing expectations. 

According to the Indonesian Health Ministry, more than 60% of workers in small and medium-sized industries reported depression and 57% said they found it hard to sleep or suffered from insomnia. 

Sindikasi chairwoman Ellena Ekarahendy welcomed the government’s new position on mental health but added that it would depend on whether all companies complied with the new regulation. 

“We are now developing guidelines for companies based on the regulation,” she said. Among the considerations are more tighter control of working hours.

 

Nick Warburton is deputy editor of IOSH Magazine 

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