With the number of COVID-19 cases soaring and intensive-care beds becoming scarcer in Jakarta, the region’s governor, Mr. Anies Baswedan, has issued Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No. 88 of 2020 (“Reg. 88”), which reinstates a partial lockdown in the national capital. The previous partial lockdown (introduced in April 2020) was relaxed on June 5. The new arrangements, known in Indonesia as large-scale social restrictions (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar / PSBB), entered into effect on Monday, Sept. 14.
Reg. 88 replicates most of the restrictive measures applied during the first partial lockdown introduced by Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No. 33 of 2020. However, there are three important differences: the working-from-home (WFH) rules are more flexible than the last time; mandatory quarantine has been introduced for suspected COVID-19 cases for the first time in Indonesia since the onset of the pandemic; and travel to and from Jakarta will continue to be permitted, albeit officially discouraged -- by contrast, the earlier lockdown saw police checkpoints mounted on major routes around the capital to prevent movements of people.
In this update, we will focus on the issue that is perhaps of most immediate concern to employers, i.e., whether or not employees can carry out their work as normal?
Working From Home
According to both the Jakarta Administration and medical experts, one of the most significant causes of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Jakarta has been the virus’ transmission in the workplace.
Given this, the administration has introduced a modified form of the working-from-home (WFH) policy that was applied earlier this year. This time, however, the approach is more relaxed. Rather than mandatory WFH for all non-exempt sectors, now up to 25 percent of an employer’s workforce will be permitted to be simultaneously present in the workplace should WFH “not be possible” (to quote Reg. 88). Unfortunately, no guidance is given as to what is and is not “possible.” Thus, a lot would seem to depend on subjective decisions by employers.
The same businesses / sectors are exempt from WFH requirements this time around as were the last time, namely:
- Food and beverage
- Communications and information technology
- Strategic industries
- Basic services, public utilities and industries designated as vital national objects, and other designated facilities; and/or
- Basic essentials
The new Jakarta restrictions, which are valid for 2 weeks, officially expire on Sept. 27. However, they may be further extended for periods of 2 weeks each time.