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How Indonesia’s Labor Laws Apply to Foreign Workers

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Foreigners who work in Indonesia are entitled to certain labor rights. These labor rights are protected by labor laws which specifically pertain to foreign workers. Foreign workers who know about the details of these laws will be more empowered and autonomous as they work in Indonesia.

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Indonesia’s Primary Labor Laws

There are certain Indonesian labor laws which are not only necessary, but of utmost importance to all who work in Indonesia. For instance, Article 5 of the country’s labor laws specifies that everyone who could possibly be employed is to be offered equal working opportunities without any discrimination or corruption. Article 6 mentions that every worker has the right to receive equal treatment. Job training ought to be offered to all employees to provide direction and to enhance their competence. Indonesian labor laws also state that employers are responsible for improving their workers’ competence through the provision of job training. Equal opportunities for job training should be provided to all workers. Indonesian labor laws also require the employers to give special considerations to those with disabilities by considering the type and severity of the disability as well as the disabled person’s ability to perform the tasks to be assigned.

If an employer terminates a contract due to the sale of a company, Indonesian labor laws require that the employee be paid the statutory termination payment. However, Indonesian laws do not require a termination notice. The employer is still obligated to pay suspended employees their salary.

Official employment contracts in Indonesia are to include information including job title, job description, office address, company name, personal details of the employee, salary and payment method, job requirements, employer’s and employee’s rights and obligations, commencement date, duration of the contract, location and date of contract signature, the employer’s signature, and the employee’s signature.

How Indonesia’s Labor Laws Apply to Foreigners

Every Indonesian employer who hires a foreign worker is to obtain permission in writing from relevant government authorities. The requirement does not apply to the representative offices of foreign countries within Indonesia when they employ foreigners as their diplomatic or consular employees. However, certain individual employers are not allowed to employ foreign workers. Foreign workers employed in Indonesia can only be employed in the country for a certain period of time in specific positions. Government authorities decide on the duration granted and positions open to foreign workers in Indonesia. Once the working period which was initially specified has expired and cannot be renewed, the now-vacant position can be filled by another foreign citizen. The employers of foreign employees must have a plan for their foreign employees according to the laws enforced by government authorities. Some of the points that should be addressed by an employer when bringing foreign workers into the country include the reasons why the services of the foreign citizens are required, why the services to be provided by the foreign workers are necessary in Indonesia, the position to be taken by the foreign worker, and the duration of the foreign workers’ expected employment in the position to be taken. The employers also ought to provide evidence that an Indonesian citizen has been hired as an assistant partner to each foreign worker.

Employers of foreign workers are obliged to obey the existing rules and standards regarding the employment of foreign workers. Indonesian employers who hire foreign workers are expected to appoint Indonesian workers to work with the foreign workers so that these foreign employees can transmit their newly acquired knowledge and technological skills to their local counterparts. However, this does not apply to foreign workers who occupy managerial or directorial positions. A foreign worker working in Indonesia is also not allowed to hold any position dealing with personnel or the employment of any other employees.

Rights of Foreign Workers in Indonesia

Foreign workers have certain rights according to the labor laws of Indonesia. For example, it is required that the foreign workers be paid adequate compensation by their employers. Employers are required to repatriate their foreign employees back to their countries of origin once their respective contracts expire. Foreign workers also have the right to be trained by their employers so as to be equipped with skills that match the current job requirements and expectations. Labor laws require that employers give their female foreign employees 180 days of maternity leave; 90 days before delivery and another 90 days after giving birth. The Indonesian labor law known as Act No. 9 of 1992 specifies information related to immigration and passport regulation as they relate to foreign workers.

Indonesian labor laws require that all workers should work for seven hours a day, which will add up to 42 hours a week when working six days a week. Some might also choose to work for eight hours over five working days a week. There is also to be a rest period of less than 30 minutes after every four hours of continuous work.

If an employee works for extra hours, they ought to receive payment for overtime worked. However, some employees in certain positions might not be limited by working hours and are not usually entitled to overtime payment. Despite this fact, such employees are in most instances paid more than are most other workers. Overtime payment is calculated as such: the first overtime hour is worth one-and-a-half times the overtime pay rate, and each following overtime hour is worth twice the overtime pay rate.

If an overtime payment is to be calculated on an employee who works on a public holiday, the first eight hours are worth twice the overtime pay rate; the ninth hour, three times the overtime pay rate; and any following hours, four times the overtime pay rate.

Authorities Enforcing Labor Laws Regarding Foreigners in Indonesia

In Indonesia, there are several government agencies who work to ensure that the labor laws which regard foreigners are up to date and followed by employers and employees alike across the country. These authorities ensure that none of the parties exploit the other. The Ministry of Manpower, the Directorate General of Immigration, and labor courts are among the key authorities that ensuring that the labor laws are followed.

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Labor Inspection in Indonesia

Labor inspection in Indonesia takes place through the actions of four different directorates. The Directorate of Working Conditions Inspection is an inspection related to social security, working conditions, training, and employer-employee relationships. The Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Inspection is an inspection related to fire hazards, mechanical equipment, dangerous substances, construction, electrical installations, and occupational health. The Directorate of Women and Child Labor Inspection is an inspection related to child labor and women workers. It also involves certain forms of advocacy and liaises with any relevant institutions. The Directorate of Law Enforcement on Labor Inspection is an inspection related to standardization, certification, law enforcement, prosecution, and investigation of any work-related court cases.

All these inspections are responsibilities of people who work in various government departments; more specifically, labor inspectors who operate within provinces and districts. The labor inspectors are hired after considering certain competency expectations. It is the work of labor inspectors to administer regulative measures and enforce laws on workplaces. Act 13 of 2003 on Manpower gives labor inspectors all the necessary authoritative responsibilities. The labor inspectors work with police officers to investigate labor crimes. Labor inspectors are also to give guidance in the form of advice on issues dealing with industrial relations and employment contracts.

Most of the inspection visits which take place in Indonesia are planned in advance. Those which are not planned occur upon the submission of a complaint or the notification of an accident.

A labor inspection committee has since been formed in Indonesia; it is tasked with the responsibilities of inspecting, provision of advice on improving the effectiveness of Indonesian labor, and proposals of ways to improve the overall labor inspection system. Its responsibilities are those of social dialogue and labor inspection.

Punishments for Labor Law Violations in Indonesia

The Indonesian government does not take violations of the country’s labor laws lightly. Such violations may be punished by fines, jail terms, or other forms of punishment. The value of the fine or intensity of the punishment is dependent on the severity of the violation. Punishments are usually decided by a court ruling. Among the punishments which may be imposed upon an errant company include written warnings sent to the violators, monetary fines, termination of licenses, or even deregistration of companies in the most extreme scenarios. Cases with the court are immediately filed when those inspecting realize that there has been a violation of Indonesia’s labor laws.


Indonesia’s labor laws are primarily upheld by the government through the Ministry of Manpower. The Ministry in turn works with the relevant authorities to ensure that the employees of Indonesia work under acceptable conditions at all times. Foreigners are always welcome to work in Indonesia as long as they follow the proper procedures of obtaining a valid work visa before attempting to find suitable employment in Indonesia. Foreigners who plan to move to Indonesia to find a job ought to search for a company which can make use of their skills once they have obtained the required documents which enable them to work in Indonesia. Due to the fact that the government of Indonesia has an intention to minimize the unemployment rate among locals, it is especially important that all proper procedures related to working in Indonesia as a foreigner are followed by any foreign employee.

How Indonesia’s Labor Laws Apply to Foreign Workers FAQs

What should foreign workers in Indonesia do if they believe their labor have been violated?2020-04-02T16:14:05+08:00

Foreign employees who believe that their labor rights have been violated should report to the Directorate General of Labor. Through the relevant authorities and via the court of law, the necessary measures will be taken against the employer who violated the labor rights of the employee. Foreign workers are protected by the same Indonesian labor laws and regulations as are Indonesian workers. 

Are any Indonesian labor regulations expected to be changed?2020-04-02T16:13:12+08:00

The Indonesian government plans to reduce the unemployment rate of Indonesian citizens. Thus, it plans to limit limitation to the hiring of foreign employees. For this reason, the government through the Directorate General of Immigration and Ministry of Manpower might make it more difficult for a foreigner to acquire a work visa which is valid in Indonesia. 

Which countries send the most foreign workers to Indonesia?2020-04-02T16:12:19+08:00

The vast majority of foreign workers in Indonesia are from East Asian countries. China sends the most foreign workers to Indonesia, with Japan and South Korea ranking second and third by this metric. These three countries combine for almost 60% of all the foreign workers who work in Indonesia. 

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