Indonesia updates

July 2022 Updates: 

General situation:

The COVID-19 situation in Indonesia is still under control and no areas are imposing Community Activities Restrictions Enforcement (PPKM) Level 3 and Level 4 (Level 4 is the highest level of severity).


Schools are open for face-to-face learning, except for the areas that impose PPKM Level 4 (if any) with less than 80% of the teachers and staff vaccinated, and less than 60% of the elderly in the community vaccinated.

Overall, as of 10 June 2022, 3.93 million teachers had received a first dose (95% of 3.74 million), 3.56 million had received a second dose (90% of 3.92 million) and 1.5 million had received a third dose (41% of 3.92 million).


Investment in the manufacturing sector has increased to Rp230.8 trillion (US$15.4 billion) in the first half of 2022 from Rp167.1 trillion (US$11.2 billion) in the corresponding period of 2021. The Indonesian Government is confident with the improved domestic demand alongside the community activities dynamics that have grown flexible, as well as the expedition of booster vaccines, which guarantees the interest of investors to expand in the country.


Following a released NGO report on the deaths of many Indonesian migrants due to torture in the Malaysian immigration detention centres, the Indonesian Government will repatriate more than 200 Indonesian migrant workers from such centres.


Earlier this year, the Indonesian Businessmen Association (APINDO) filed a lawsuit with the State Administrative Court (PTUN) against the Jakarta Governor's decision to raise the 2022 provincial minimum wage by 5.1%. The lawsuit is granted and PTUN asked the Jakarta Governor to reduce the increase in wages. Labour unions have made a request to the Jakarta provincial government to appeal against PTUN’s verdict.

June 2022 Updates: 



Schools are running normally again in Indonesia. However, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the number of children dropping out of school. According to UNICEF, the dropout number in Indonesia has increased to 4.3 million children due to pandemic.


In response to learning losses due to the pandemic, the Indonesian government has rolled out a new curriculum called “Merdeka Curriculum”. It will be applicable from this year for early childhood education institutions all the way up to senior high schools.




Indonesia's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped by 1.1 points to 50.8 in May 2022 because of supply constraints (e.g., lengthening of suppliers’ delivery times, persistent and rapid increases in prices). The good news is that demand continues to rise.




According to Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), the proportion of workers/employees with monthly take-home-pay below minimum wage reached 50.61% in February 2022.

April 2022 Updates: 


Starting in the second week of April 2022, around 10.979 schools in DKI Jakarta Province carry out face-to-face learning at 100% of the capacity. The Health Department is closely coordinating with schools and health facilities to prevent COVID-19 transmission at schools. Other than DKI Jakarta, there are four provinces and 306 regencies/cities that are carrying out face-to-face learning at 100% capacity.

Indonesia’s 2021 national assessment of education's quality shows that: i) one out of two students had not reached the minimum literacy competence; ii) two out of three students had not reached the minimum numeration competence. This assessment covered more than 259,000 schools ranging from elementary level to high school level, with more than 3.1 million teachers and 6.5 million students.


The performance of the manufacturing industry is projected to increase significantly in the second quarter of 2022. This is indicated by Prompt Manufacturing Index Bank Indonesia (PMI Indonesia) that recorded a figure of 51.77 percent in the first quarter of 2022, up from 50.17 percent in the previous quarter.


The Indonesian government has finally begun to allow inter-city movement for homecoming trips during the Eid celebration in 2022. Previously, the government decided to abolish the long holiday for Eid celebration in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Homecoming is a Muslim tradition in Indonesia on every major religious day, especially during the Eid celebration. During this long holiday, the majority of people will go back to their hometown to reconnect with family and friends.


As of 26 April 2022, the Indonesian Ministry of Labour received 1,828 grievances from workers regarding yearly religious holiday allowance (THR). According to regulations, workers are supposed to receive 100% of their THR one week before Eid celebration (on 25 April 2022 at the latest).

Child Labour:

According to Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), there were around 940,000 children aged 10-17 who were classified as child labourers in 2021. This number represents a slight decline from the previous year (around 1.17 million child laborers in 2020). The child labour rate in 2021 was 2.63% lower than the rate in 2020 (3,25%).

March 2022 Updates: 


In the areas that impose activity restrictions (PPKM Level 1, 2, 3), schools and education units are carrying out limited face-to-face learning (50% of the capacity). Level 1 and Level 2 areas can carry out full face-to-face learning when the COVID-19 transmission is under control and the schools/education units are well prepared (e.g. 80% of the teachers and staff are vaccinated with the second dose).

Litbang Kompas conducted a survey on 10-13 February 2022, and the result showed that 70% of school dropout cases in Java were due to parents not working or children having to help their parents work during the pandemic.

Perhimpunan Pendidikan dan Guru (Education and Teacher Association) said that elementary school children in the lower grades were the most affected by learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are falling behind in basic literacy skills and mathematic skills. Teachers also face challenges in maintaining emotional connection with the students. Another report also mentioned that the online learning system in Indonesia is not friendly to students with disability, so they lost access to good education.


Indonesia's manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has been above 50 for six months in a row. This means that manufacturing production is growing. However, the growth rate is slowing down due to the increasing cases of Omicron. The increase in demand and production throughout February 2022 was lower than January 2022.


The export value of manufacturing industry in January-February 2022 increased 29.57% when compared to January-February 2021.


The Indonesian government has loosened the activity restrictions (PPKM regulation) in Java and Bali for the period of 22 March – 4 April 2022 as the COVID-19 situation improved.


For the past two years, THR (yearly religious holiday allowance/bonus) payments were not paid normally. The Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Unions (KSPSI) demands employers to pay THR in full as the Indonesian economy is recovering this year.


Media also reported workers in Sukabumi and Aceh held protests against their company because they were being terminated without severance payment.


On the other hand, hundreds of workers from the Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Unions (KSPSI) held a demonstration in Jakarta and demanded the government to revoke Omnibus Law and to stabilise food prices (especially the rising price of cooking oil).

September 2021 Updates: 

  • The government has decided to extend the implementation of Restrictions on Community Activities (PPKM) in Java and Bali from September 14 to September 20, 2021. The 7 provinces in Java-Bali are implementing the PPKM Level 3 policy, namely DKI Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, and Bali.


  • Outside of Java-Bali, there is also no province implementing PPKM Level 4 as the situation has improved (the higher the level, the worse the COVID situation). However, there are still districts/cities with Level 4 status.


  • As PPKM Level 3 allows face-to-face learning (PTM), Jakarta government will target every school in the province to implement limited PTM (in total of 8,900 schools). Currently, there are 610 schools implementing limited PTM with strict health protocols.


  • PTM will be applied in Jakarta starting September 13. PTM is currently still held three times a week, namely on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Meanwhile on Tuesdays and Thursdays the school environment will be sprayed with disinfectant.


  • After three weeks, the schools will start to open every day. However, the opening of schools from Monday to Friday does not mean that all students also study in class every day. Each class continues to take turns attending school, as well as learning online from home (blended learning).

July 2021 Updates: 

General situation:

  • On July 21, 2021, the Indonesian government changed the name of its social restriction from ‘PPKM Darurat’ (‘Emergency PPKM’) to ‘PPKM Level 4’. The level is to refer to WHO’s Risk Assessment Level for COVID-19.

  • ‘PPKM Level 4’ in Java and Bali was supposed to be imposed until July 20, but has been extended until August 2, 2021.

  • The regulation states that all regional leaders in Java and Bali, including in areas designated as Level 3 in terms of the severity of their COVID-19 outbreaks, shall implement a level 4 public restriction policy, which includes barring all non-essential and critical workers from working from the office, as well as ceasing the operations of shopping centres.

  • As of July 13, 2021, there have been 2,567,630 COVID-19 infections and 67,355 deaths reported in Indonesia since the pandemic began.

Impact on workers and children


  • Level 4 restrictions means schools must be shut and switch to online schooling.

  • ASAKI (association of Indonesian ceramic industries) stated that approximately 20,000 workers could be furloughed without pay due to the extension of PPKM.

  • API (Indonesian textile association) also stated that, if the PPKM continues, many contract employees in the textile industry would have their contracts terminated.

June 2021 Updates: 

General situation:

  • As of June 6, 2021, the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 1,850,206 cases with a mortality rate of 2.8%.


  • Currently, 30% of schools have opened face-to-face learning. Meanwhile, 28% of teachers and lecturers have been vaccinated from a total of 5.6 million teachers nationwide. The Indonesian government is accelerating the vaccination process for teachers and lecturers.


  • The Indonesian government has decided to extend micro-level community activity restrictions (PPKM) in 34 provinces from June 1-14, 2021. The government has also extended the quarantine period for people arriving from Malaysia, India, and other countries with the rising number of COVID-19 cases to 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Indonesia. Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the nation's borders would be partially reopened in July, with the destinations of Bali, Batam and Bintan to become "locomotive regions" that will revive the tourism economy for the whole country.

May, 2021 Updates:

General situation:

  • As of May 19, 2021, the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 1,753,101 cases. In that same period, the number of deaths rose to 48,669, while the number of recovered patients rose to 1,616,603. Provinces with the most cases are DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and East Kalimantan.


  • Indonesia rolls out company-funded Covid-19 vaccinations of workers. There are 22,736 companies listed on this programme. Of all these companies, the total number of employees who will be vaccinated is up to 10 million people. Workers in labour-intensive industries such as food and petrochemicals will be the first to receive their vaccinations under the roll-out.

  • Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data released early this month showed that all contact-sensitive sectors, which comprise the most labour-intensive businesses such as manufacturing, trade, construction, mining, transportation, tourism and hospitality, contracted as a result of the mobility restrictions. This certainly had an adverse effect on household consumption, which accounts for more than 55 percent of GDP.

April, 2021 Updates:

General situation:

  •  As of April 18, 2021, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Indonesia reached 1,599,763 cases with the total death toll reaching 43,328.

  • The provinces with the highest number of cases were DKI Jakarta (398,125 cases), West Java (266,118 cases), Central Java (178,060 cases), East Java (144,185 cases), and East Kalimantan (66,576 cases).

  • The Indonesian government has applied additional regulations for the Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr) period. From 6-17 May 2021, traveling will be limited for work or family emergencies (e.g. death or sickness of a family member, childbirth), not for Lebaran exodus (mudik). Travelers must also present an entry/exit permit (SIKM) at the airport.

  • Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister aims to accelerate the travel bubble scheme in Bali, Bintan, and Batam (3B) in June-July 2021. The implementation of this plan will be adjusted with the COVID-19 situation. The government is in talks with Singapore, China, South Korea, India, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates for potential travel bubbles that will allow their nationals to visit “green zones”, or sites that have curbed COVID-19 infections and vaccinated a significant portion of their local population.


March, 2021 Updates:

  • As of March 18th, 2021, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Indonesia reached 1,443,853 cases, including 131,753 active cases and total death toll reached 39,142 people.


  • As of March 17th, 2021, more than 4.7 million people received the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, meanwhile, the second dose has only reached more than 1.87 million people. These numbers are only small percentages when compared to the vaccine target of 181 million people.


  • WHO and EU launched a new partnership to support the COVID-19 response in Indonesia. The EU is providing EUR 2.66 million for the WHO in Indonesia, in particular, as part of its EUR 20 million funding for the WHO COVID-19 response in Southeast Asia. The WHO will use the funds to support Indonesian Ministry of Health to suppress community transmission and maintain essential health services to reduce preventable diseases and deaths.

Feburary, 2021 Updates:

General situation:

  • As of February 18, 2021, the total number of COVID-19 infections nationwide in Indonesia reached 1,252,685 cases, including 160,494 active cases and total death toll reached 33,969 people.


  • The transmission rate of COVID-19 in Indonesia is still very high. West Java province has recorded the highest number of new cases.


  • Presidential regulation on coronavirus vaccination regulates mandatory inoculation for people who are declared by the Health Ministry as eligible for the vaccine, unless they fail to meet certain health criteria. The government can penalise those who refuse the vaccine by stopping or delaying social assistance programmes and administrative services as well as impose fines.


  • A million or 85% of healthcare workers have been vaccinated out of a total of 1.48 million healthcare workers. Indonesia aims to completely vaccinate its population before the end of the first half of 2022. 

The situation of parents and children:

  • Reports of violence against women and children have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice (LBH APIK) had received 1,178 reports of violence against women and children in 2020, a spike from 794 reported cases in 2019 and 837 in 2018.

  • A World Bank analysis found that the disruption of societies and economies caused by the pandemic is aggravating the pre-existing global education crisis and is impacting education in unprecedented ways. In Indonesia, most privileged students and teachers have been able to cope with the remote learning challenges, but not the majority. In West Java, a farmer had to steal a smartphone to keep his daughter learning from home.

COVID-19 impact on industry:

  • Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (KSPI or Indonesian Trade Union Confederation) predicts that there will be massive layoffs involving the manufacturing industry in 2021. Throughout 2020, around 500 thousand manufacturing workers have experienced layoffs and the trend will continue to impact millions of other workers.


  • The Indonesian Minister of Manpower has allowed selected industries affected by the pandemic to adjust their labour wages until December 31, 2021.


  • The selected industries are food, beverage, and tobacco industry; textile and apparel industry; leather and leather goods industry; footwear industry; children's toy industry; and the furniture industry. These industries should have at least 200 workers and the percentage of labour costs in production costs is at least 15%.


  • Although the wage adjustment needs to be taken under a collective agreement, labour unions worry that it will be difficult for workers to negotiate with employers.

December, 2020 Updates:

General situation:

  • The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia reached 598,933 cases and brought the death toll to 18,336. The mortality rate of this virus is 3.1%. Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia.


  • The Jakarta administration extended the transitional period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) until Dec. 21. After a long holiday at the end of October, Jakarta has seen a surge in the confirmed cases of COVID-19.


The situation of parents and children:

  • Indonesian Paediatric Society (IDAI) received reports of the increasing stress levels among children during the pandemic. This was caused by early marriage, domestic violence, and economic reasons.

  • The Indonesian central government has given regional administrations the option to reopen schools in 2021. Based on KPAI (Indonesian Child Protection Commission)'s observations from June to November, only 16 percent of schools are ready for in-classroom teaching. KPAI is urging the government to focus on preparing infrastructure and protocols before the reopening.

November 18, 2020 Updates:

General situation:

  • According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the number of unemployed people across Indonesia increased by 2.67 million to 9.77 million in August 2020. The unemployment rate significantly increased due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • In the third quarter of 2020, Indonesia officially entered recession after its economy shrank by 3.49 percent year-on-year. Indonesia fell into recession for the first time in more than 20 years.


  • According to data released by the Indonesian Government, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections reached 474,455 cases. The total number of recovered patients reached 398.636; meanwhile, the death toll reached 15,393.

October 28, 2020 Updates:

General situation:

  • Indonesian Health Ministry announced 4,029 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on October 28, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 400,483. According to data released by the ministry, 100 more people have died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 13,612. The total number of recovered patients has also increased to 325,793.


  • West Java Governor has decided to extend the proportional large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for Greater Bogor, Depok and Greater Bekasi for a month (will last until Nov. 25). Meanwhile Jakarta Governor announced the extension of the transitional PSBB in Jakarta until Nov. 8.


  • As of May 27, data released by the Manpower Ministry showed that more than 1.79 million people had lost their jobs after nonessential businesses were shut down to comply with government restrictions.


  • A survey held by JobStreet Indonesia has found that 54 percent of Indonesian workers have felt the impacts of the pandemic, with 35 percent of them having been laid off, while 19 percent have been forced to take unpaid leave. The survey results also show that 43 percent of Indonesian workers have suffered pay cuts of up to 30 percent during the imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).


  • JobStreet revealed that the number of job seekers have increased considerably amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The increase of job seekers have doubled in numbers compared to a normal situation.

The situation of parents and children:

  • Recent study by Save the Children shows that in Indonesia, 86 percent of parent respondents felt access to health services as well as daily needs, food and medicine was becoming more difficult. As much as 74 percent of parents had lost their jobs since the pandemic hit, and 35 percent had lost more than half of their income. Only 9 percent of respondents did not feel any difficulty in paying/buying basic needs.


  • In Save the Children’s study, 52 percent of Indonesian girl respondents reported an increased burden of domestic chores and 34 percent reported doing more unpaid care work, while only 42 percent of boys reported more domestic chores and 27 percent reported more unpaid care work. More girls reported difficulty studying due to domestic chores (21 percent) than boys (16 percent). Girls are more likely not to return to school after the pandemic (reported by 0.5 percent of respondents) than boys (0.3 percent). Girls are also more likely to engage in paid labour. Of the child respondents in Indonesia, 3 percent reported witnessing violence at home.


  • Students and teachers face many challenges because of the drastic shift from face-to-face to virtual learning. A high school student in Gowa, South Sulawesi, committed suicide allegedly due to depression triggered by the number of online tasks and the difficulty of internet access.


Indonesian Education Ministry data revealed that students in 12,000 schools in far-flung, outermost and underdeveloped regions have no access to the internet, while students in 48,000 schools face poor internet connections.


The ministry has allocated Rp 7.2 trillion (US$490 million) to provide internet quota to students and teachers in all education levels.


September 15, 2020 Updates:

General situation:

  • The Indonesian Health Ministry announced 3,737 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on 11 Sept 2020, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 210,940. The total death toll has reached 8,544 and the total number of recovered patients has also increased to 150,217. COVID-19 fatality rate in Indonesia is still high (4.08 percent). The virus has spread to all of Indonesia's 34 provinces. The capital city recorded 964 new confirmed cases, bringing the total tally to 51,635.


  • PSBB policy (large-scale social restrictions) were reimposed on 14 Sept 2020 by the Jakarta administration. The administration will not allow public activities to be held. The Jakarta government will allow only essential sectors to operate with limited capacity. Operational hours and the passenger capacity of public transportation will also be reduced. PSBB basically requires people to work, study, and pray from home. The decision was made considering the high number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Jakarta, as well as the city's bed occupancy rate.

The situation of workers:

  • According to Manpower Ministry data, up until July 2020, more than 3.5 million formal and informal workers have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Meanwhile, according to APINDO (Indonesian Employers Association), more than 6 million workers have been affected up until July 2020. The number of laid-off workers will keep increasing if the pandemic situation does not improve.


The situation of parents and children: 

  • Poor and vulnerable families with children are at particular risk of reduced household income and consumption. As caregivers struggle to meet basic needs, they may assign a lower priority to educating their children. Even before the pandemic, many children in Indonesia faced difficulties in both access to and the quality of education. 


  • The main challenges children experience while learning from home are lack of guidance from teachers, lack of devices necessary to participate in online classes, and poor internet access.

August 31, 2020 Updates:

The situation at factories:

  • Starting August, one furniture factory that we have worked with told us that their business has picked up. They are not entirely back to pre-pandemic levels, but are exporting their products to major foreign markets again. The factory’s workers are all back to full-time hours and there is even some over-time work. 


  • Due to recent new order, the factory has tried to hire new workers but has found recruitment very challenging. The younger generation do not want to work in rattan industry and prefer to work in other factories such as garment and cigarette factories. They also found difficulties in retaining their home weavers network. Before the pandemic, they had 10 groups of home-weavers, but now they only have 8 groups. Many of them are now more interested in running small businesses or doing construction work.

The situation of parent workers: 

One female factory worker whom we interviewed said the biggest challenges for her family during this COVID-19 are paying their house mortgage and caring for their child. When the factory operated reduced hours from April-July 2020, she had to borrow money from her relative to pay their house mortgage because her income (including her husband's) could not cover that expense. She also had to change her son's formula milk to a cheaper product, avoid buying new toys or clothes for her child, and never went out during day-off/weekends.

Aug 24, 2020 Updates:

The situation of workers and factories:

  • COVID-19 has affected the rattan supply chain badly, especially in the lower tiers and will take time for the sector to recover. Although starting in August, business has improved, it will take more time for them to really get back on their feet.


  • The challenges are felt particularly strong on the household level of rattan farmers; many have taken up depts to cover basic expenses and find it challenging to support their children’s education e.g. purchasing internet data and accompanying them to study properly. In the months to come, these farmers are likely to continue facing struggles to pay back their debts.


  • The factories we’re in touch with are back to normal production schedules and are paying their workers normal rates again. Rattan farmers began working again in June after months of having no income. Their current income however, is lower than before the pandemic (30% less on average).

The situation of parent workers and children:

One rattan farmer we interviewed said that during this pandemic, her 16 year-old daughter has been studying from home, so she usually looks after her 10 year-old brother at home. She also helps with cleaning the house and cooking, so when her parents got off from work, their home is clean and they have food on the table. Before the pandemic, she would go to school every day and come home at 3 pm, while the 10 year-old brother would come home from school at 12 pm and would be at home by himself until his sister came home.

Actions taken by The Centre:

The Centre provided in-kind education support to 147 children of rattan farmers in Central Kalimantan and factory workers in West Java. The support for children of rattan farmers was distributed on 18 Aug 2020, while the support for children of factory workers was distributed on 21 Aug 2020.These children received an education package that consisted of a school uniform, bag, 1 month internet data, books and stationary.

Factory workers in Indonesia are given education packages to support their children to go to school. August 21, 2020. 

Rattan farmers in Indonesia and their families receive education packages on August 18, 2020 to encourage and support them in their schooling while also alleviating parents' financial pressure to an extent. 

July 28, 2020 Updates:

The situation of factories:

  • One garment factory in Central Java has had to reduce production by 50% in July. The factory was previously doing well because they shifted to mask production and enjoyed high volumes of local orders. Demand has declined significantly though and the factory is now trying to find other ways to expand its business, which is a big challenge. The factory is no longer receiving support from its long-term international buyer and must fend for itself. The working hours of its workers have been slashed by 50% in light of the challenging situation.  


  • A furniture factory that was previously struggling, has seen a slight uptick in orders this July. However, workers there have also been working on reduced hours (50%) and they are not yet in a position to bring the workforce back to full hours. 

  • Workers in both factories have also had their incomes reduced. 

The situation of parent workers and children:

  • Children in Indonesia are starting a new academic year this month (July 2020). As of now, they are still studying from home, and parent workers are struggling to facilitate the process (e.g. smart phone, internet, accompanying their children to study). 


  • Some parent workers, particularly rattan farmers, have expressed concerns about the increase in costs when class-based learning resumes as they will need to buy new uniforms, pay for transportation to and from school etc. These workers are already struggling to pay for the most basic life necessities, as many have lost their livelihoods and have had no income in months. 

Actions taken by The Centre:

The Centre is currently planning to provide in-kind support that can be given to rattan farmers and workers impacted by COVID-19, in particular support towards their children's education as a new academic year is starting this month. 

July 10, 2020 Updates:

The situation of factories:

  • By July 10, the situation at our contact factories remains largely the same as in June: all are operating and some have shifted to mask and PPE production. 

  • We received reports from workers that overtime work has dried up, which is resulting in reduced income. However, they all said they're not complaining as they are glad to still have a job and income. 

The situation of parents and children:

We interviewed 3 parent workers from different departments in a factory in Central Java, Indonesia, (i.e. operators of cutting, sewing, and packing departments). They shared the following concerns and challenges with us:

  • Their children are taking online classes via Whatsapp or watching TV channels but they are easily distracted and rely on their parents to support them with their studies in the evening as their caregivers (in most cases, the grandparents) are unable to help. 


  • The parents feel inexperienced to support their children in this way, which is causing friction and stress at home.


  • One worker told us that she is finding it difficult to enrol her child in kindergarten and doesn't know how the education programme will be delivered. She feels that there is a lack of clarity because of constantly-changing government policies. 

The situation of young workers:

We interviewed three young workers in a factory in Central Java Indonesia recently to learn about their situation during the pandemic. 

All 3 young workers learned new skills as their factory has begun producing face masks and hazmat suits. They are all still working in the same production department but the type of work has changed. For instance, one young worker in the cutting dept. who usually worked on collar interlining is now working on mask cloth numbering, while another young worker who usually worked as a trimmer in the sewing dept. is now working on inserting rubber straps onto face masks. Their supervisors have that they are adapting to the new tasks quite well. 

Actions taken by The Centre:

  • The Centre recently reached out to rattan farmers in Central Kalimantan and spoke to a number of rattan workers. These calls prompted us to deliver food packages to help ease their pressure and worry during these trying times. In May 2020, 70 rattan farmers in total received a package consisting of rice, sugar and cooking oil –  foods that while basic, will go a long way in supporting them.


  • The Centre conducted a webinar-based version of our young worker in-factory training due to travel restrictions, allowing workers taking part in a youth development programme to continue their learning path. 

June 24, 2020 Updates:

The situation of factories:

  • All factories are operating. 


  • Furniture manufacturers have lost 50%-90% of their usual production volume. Garment factories have a better survival chance in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic because they can shift their production to produce hazmat suits and masks.


  • All factories are either losing their international buyers or their order volume was significantly reduced.


  • The garment factories are still running at full capacity (100% of workers) in the midst of COVID-19.


  • Due to shrinking order volumes, furniture factories have laid off 40-75% of their workers.


  • None of the factories are receiving government support and they are unable to predict order volumes for the next 12 months. 

The situation of parents and children:

  • Income: No interview was conducted directly with the factory workers. However, looking at the shrinking of business orders and how all furniture factories were laying-off their workers, workers' income and welfare is undoubtedly affected. We conducted 2 interviews with rattan farmers in the deeper supply chain of furniture business, and their situations are not good. They lost their main income (rattan harvesting & washing) and were forced to turn to odd-jobs like harvesting rice. Their income was reduced so much that they have to cut down on their food consumption. See our blog about the situation of rattan farmers in Indonesia here


  • Childcare: In Indonesia, most workers live in a big family setting so childcare is usually not an issue for factory workers because they have their parents or other relatives looking after their young children. However, in the midst of COVID-19 where children are studying from home, it brings at least 2 challenges to parent workers: a) Parents' focus is divided between their work at the factory and making sure their children at home are studying (who were usually in school during their working hours), b) Parent/caregiver does not have the capacity to help children study at home, which may affect the overall quality of education that their children receive during the pandemic.

Published on 18/05/2021

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