In newly released guidelines, UNICEF and ILO urge employers to consider the impact of their business decisions on workers’ families – and to support the government’s efforts to expand social protection wherever possible. This is particularly relevant in Indonesia, given the absence of unemployment benefit and the large proportion of people working in the informal economy.
“Job loss, school closures, and unavailability of childcare mean that families – especially those in low-income households – need extra support,” said UNICEF Representative Debora Comini. “Family-friendly policies put in place by employers in these challenging times can help workers to care for their families and maintain their livelihood.”
Family-friendly policies in the workplace is ever more needed under the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers may face their own or family health challenges. Employers can further support flexible work modality, ensuring paid sick leaves to assist workers in needs. "Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO for Indonesia
The Government of Indonesia has asked Provincial Governors to safeguard the full payment of salaries to public and private sector employees, and to ensure the distribution of pre-employment cards (Kartu Prakerja) for informal workers and small business owners aiming to mitigate the negative impact on the livelihood of the most vulnerable families.
“Family-friendly policies in the workplace is ever more needed under the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers may face their own or family health challenges. Employers can further support flexible work modality, ensuring paid sick leaves to assist workers in needs. Consultation and dialogue between the employers and workers are crucial in finding the solution jointly and sustain the business,” said ILO Country Director Michiko Miyamoto.
The new UNICEF-ILO guidelines recommend concrete steps employers can take to put in place family-friendly policies that can mitigate the negative consequences stemming from COVID-19, including:
- Implement flexible work arrangements that give workers greater freedom of when and where to fulfil their job responsibilities and can support workers to meet personal or family needs and achieve better work-life balance.
- Support working parents with childcare options that are safe and appropriate in the context of COVID-19. In the context of widespread school and childcare closures, employers can provide critical support to parents who are faced with limited or no childcare options.
- Prevent and address workplace risks by strengthening occupational safety and health measures. Protecting the health of workers, customers, users and other affected third parties should be the foremost priority of employers.
- Provide guidance and training on occupational safety and health measures and hygiene practices. Physical distancing, handwashing and hygiene education are critical ways to avoid spreading COVID-19 infections.
- Encourage workers to seek appropriate medical care in cases of fever, cough and difficulty breathing. In the absence of a vaccine, reducing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is the safest way to prevent infection. Where workers develop symptoms, encourage them to seek appropriate medical care.
- Support workers coping with stress and personal safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Potential risk of unemployment and workplace inflexibility can increase parenting stress, which has an impact on parenting practices and parent-child relationships.