Indonesia’s House of Parliament (DPR) is pushing for the passage of a bill that would raise mandatory maternity leave from three months to six, speaker Puan Maharani said, who stressed the importance of expanding the rights of female workers.
The lawmaker from ruling party PDI-P expressed her hope in a written statement that the Bill on the Welfare of Mothers and Children (RUU KIA), which is among the priority bills discussed in DPR this year, will pass into law in the near future.
“RUU KIA mandates a minimum of six months for maternity leave, and [workers on maternity leave] cannot be terminated from their job. In addition, women on maternity leave are still entitled to their salaries from the company’s social security program,” Puan, who is widely expected to run in the 2024 presidential election, said.
Specifically, under RUU KIA, women on maternity leave will be entitled to their full salaries for the first three months and 70 percent of their salaries for the remaining three months.
RUU KIA also mandates a 1.5-month leave for women who suffer a miscarriage.
Maternity leave is currently regulated by Law no. 13/2003 on Manpower, which mandates up to three months for a woman’s pre-natal and post-natal periods.
Neither the law nor RUU KIA regulates parental leave for spouses.
While DPR’s push for the passage of RUU KIA may be progressive on the surface, there is a lingering concern that it would further encourage corporations to discriminate against women in the workplace.
It’s common knowledge that Indonesian companies are generally averse to hiring newlywed women, or insert clauses in their contracts forbidding them from getting pregnant for a certain period of time. With an immense pool of job seekers in Indonesia, it’s not hard to find women who fit these criteria.
Companies may also prefer hiring men to avoid the hassle of granting maternity leave, thereby shrinking job opportunities for women.
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