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Okt '07

Employers told simply: ‘pay Idul Fitri bonus’

Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Erman Suparno said the Idul Fitri bonus was “obligatory” and would enable Muslim workers to depart to their home villages to celebrate the holidays with family.

Referring to the compulsory bonus as a “religious allowance”, Erman said “it must be paid, at the latest, a week before workers celebrate Idul Fitri”.

Administrative sanctions, including revocation of business license, would be imposed on employers who failed to do so, he said.

A 1999 ministry of manpower decree makes the timing of the annual bonus — which is equal to one month’s salary — accord with the observance of religious holidays.

So Muslims employees receive their Idul Fitri allowance and Christians receive an equivalent bonus ahead of Christmas.

The minister admitted his office had received reports from a “great number” of workers who had yet to receive their bonuses.

The minister said reports had also been received regarding eight companies failing to comply with the ministerial decree due to financial difficulties.

However, no sanctions were applicable in any of these cases “because both sides had agreed to allow management to pay a part of the annual bonus before Idul Fitri and the rest after the Muslim holiday”.

He said the financial statements of the companies — which together employ 5,460 workers — would be audited by an independent auditor to verify the financial disability.

Compared with 2006, the number of companies asking to be exempted from the decree has decreased, the minister said.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union (SBSI), Rekson Silaban, slammed the government for its failure to detect employers in violation of the law on annual bonuses.

Rekson said SBSI had received “many complaints about employers who are ignorant of the decree” and followed up on them at the level of province and regency.

Rekson said the enforcement of the decree had been impaired by regional autonomy, as the ministry couldn’t reach violators and regional heads didn’t pay enough attention to the issue.

“Manpower and transmigration offices in provinces, regencies and municipalities failed to order payment of the annual bonus at least two months before Idul Fitri (as planned) so that employers would have adequate time to put it in their budgets,” he said.

“Like major companies, all employers should allocate the religious allowance as a 13th monthly salary disbursement in their annual budget to make sure all workers receive the bonus each year.”

Sumber : (Ridwan Max Sijabat) The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 

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