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Jakarta Post

Thousands laid off, forced to take unpaid leave in Jakarta as companies hit hard by COVID-19

Thousands laid off, forced to take unpaid leave in Jakarta as companies hit hard by COVID-19 Dozens of workers stand in front of their office on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta on April 3. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)
Tri Indah Oktavianti
Jakarta   ●   Mon, April 6, 2020 2020-04-06 14:29 395 7f440ff09e92db75a02bbad206ffe7b7 1 City COVID-19,COVID-19-Jakarta,COVID-19-in-Indonesia,COVID-19-joblessness,layoffs Free

The number of workers that have been laid off and forced to take unpaid leave has reached 162,416 in the capital as more than 18,000 companies in the city grapple with the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Jakarta administration has said.

Data compiled by the Jakarta Manpower, Transmigration and Energy Agency showed that as of Sunday, a total of 30,137 workers had been terminated by 3,348 companies, while another 132,279 employees had been sent home without pay.

A total of 18,045 companies in Jakarta have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

"[The Jakarta administration] is collecting data on the number of workers who have been laid off and forced to take unpaid leave to be reported later to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and the Manpower Ministry," the agency wrote on its official Instagram account.

The Jakarta administration, through the agency, had issued a policy to accelerate the preemployment card program to offer subsidized job training courses and incentives to workers affected by layoffs and unpaid leave to cushion the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) president Said Iqbal has called on the government to prepare more measures to anticipate more layoffs. 

"The government needs to give funds to workers, app-based ride-hailing drivers, and small businesses. It would ease the burden of companies as part of the payment is subsidized by the government," Said Iqbal said in a statement on Monday.

Read also: Airline employees worried about job security as COVID-19 takes its toll

He also suggested the government give incentives to tourism businesses by terminating bank loan interests or reducing tourism-related tax to keep the industry alive.

Said Iqbal also called on companies to reduce production costs by giving more days off to workers with a rotational policy to ensure production kept ongoing.

"It would reduce electrical costs, catering costs and others for companies" he said, adding that companies should still pay workers in full.

At the time of the writing, Andi Yansyah, the head of Jakarta's Manpower, Transmigration and Energy Agency, was not immediately available when reached for comment by The Jakarta Post.

As of Sunday, the novel coronavirus disease has sickened 2,273 people and killed 198 across the archipelago. Jakarta remains the hardest-hit by the contagious disease as the capital has reported nearly half of nationwide cases, or 1,143 infections, with 111 fatalities.