Government Encourages Improvement of Workforce Capacity through Community BLKs
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesian Government encouraged skills improvement of the people through Vocational Training Centers (BLK) for the Community.
“The Government has also implemented various policies and programs related to employment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said at the Ministry of Manpower’s response to COVID-19 with the theme “Work for the Nation’s Glory”, Saturday (12/9) in Bali.
One of the efforts is through the Pre-Employment Card Program which is now positioned as semi-social assistance for workers affected by Termination of Employment (PHK), being laid off, and affected informal workers. This program provides assistance for training costs and incentives with total assistance of Rp3,550,000 for 5.6 million recipients.
Currently, more than 22 million people have registered and as many as 3.8 million people have been assigned Pre-Employment Cards. In addition, there are 1.6 million people who have completed training and 933 thousand have received incentives.
“In the future, this program will continue to be improved by opening offline registration and training by considering the regions,” the Coordinating Minister said.
The Community BLK, Airlangga added, is expected to become a training provider, especially to encourage offline training in areas that still have limited communication technology infrastructure. “Of course, the BLK must meet the established criteria,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah reported that since its release in 2017, there have been 1,113 Community BLKs spread across Indonesia until 2019. Meanwhile, in 2020, the Ministry has planned to build 1,000 Community BLKs.
According to the Minister, the program which is aimed at increasing the competence of human resources was previously focused on religious institutions. “Currently we are expanding its distribution by involving the role of labor unions. There are several Community BLK-based trade unions and labor unions starting in 2020,” she added.
The Government has also launched a Wage Subsidy Assistance for Workers/Laborers with an income of under Rp5 million which aims to ease the burden and maintain workers’ purchasing power. The budget for this program is Rp37.7 trillion for 15.7 million workers/laborers, with the amount of assistance amounting to Rp2.4 million each, distributed in two stages.
To date, Wage Subsidy Assistance has been distributed in two batches with a total fund of Rp5.84 trillion and recipients of 4.87 million workers or has reached 89.45% of the two batches target which will continue until 2021.
Furthermore, the Government has also relaxed the Labor Social Security contributions through the issuance of Government Regulation Number 49 of 2020 on Adjustment of Employment Social Security Program Contribution during the Non-Natural Disaster of the COVID-19 Spread.
This relaxation is in the form of contribution exemption of up to 99% for Work Accident Benefits (JKK) and Death Benefits (JKM), as well as the postponement of contribution payments for Pension Security (JP) of 99%. “With this relaxation, it is expected to stimulate the industry so that business continuity is maintained and workers can be optimally protected,” Airlangga said.
The Government also paid attention to Prospective Indonesian Migrant Workers (CPMI). Many job opportunities are available in various placement destination countries.
“The Government encourages these migrant workers to look for programs including social assistance, presidential assistance related to capital for MSMEs. So, the regional governments and Ministry of Manpower can cooperate with Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs so that our people who have not been able to go abroad can have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs,” he continued.
In order to protect workers during the pandemic, it is necessary to ensure the protection of workers’ safety and health. Government policies contained in the Circular of Minister of Manpower Number M/3/HK.04/III/2020 on Protection of Workers/Laborers and Business Continuity in the context of Preventing and Overcoming COVID-19, must be carried out by all stakeholders in the regions.
According to Airlangga, it is crucial to guide and supervise the implementation of Occupational Safety and Health (K3) in this pandemic. “We need to encourage the 3M Movement, namely using masks, washing hands, and maintaining distance in the work environment,” he said.
Airlangga expressed the belief that Ministry of Manpower’s efforts could encourage the massive development of vocational training programs at Community BLKs. “Through training in accordance with the needs of the market and also encouraging entrepreneurship, we can reduce unemployment and restore the economy,” he concluded. (PR of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs/EN)
Translated by: Fairuzzamani Inayatillah
Reviewed by: Mia M. Bonaedy