Project backgroundTo improve the welfare of women in Indonesia, the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Government of Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) began an initiative entitled: Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction (Maju Perempuan Indonesia untuk Penanggulangan Kemiskinan – MAMPU) in mid-2012. In February 2014, the cooperation was solidified by a MoU for the implementation of MAMPU Program. MAMPU Program has five thematic areas:
1. Improving women’s access to government social protection programs.
2. Increasing women’s access to jobs and removing workplace discrimination.
3. Improving conditions for women’s overseas labour migration.
4. Strengthening women’s leadership for better maternal and reproductive health.
5. Strengthening women’s leadership to reduce violence against women.
The ILO MAMPU Project is under thematic area number two, working to improve access to jobs and removing workplace discrimination for homeworkers. Homeworkers are precarious, vulnerable and marginalized workers. The definition of homeworkers in ILO Convention No. 177 embraces the three common elements of an employment relationship under Indonesian labour law: defined work, remuneration and a degree of subordination. However, homeworkers are not recognized or explicitly defined by national laws or regulations, leaving them with no legal and social protection in Indonesia.
The increasing incident of homeworkers in Indonesia coincides with the increasing flexibilization of the labour market, externalization of production processes and high rates of underemployment and informal work in Indonesia. The difficulties in regulating home work are exacerbated by the fact that homeworkers are engaged through informal arrangements which are not recorded and for which no appropriate or effective supervision mechanism currently exist.
Surveys and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in East Java and North Sumatera conducted during phase 1 of the Project in 2013 have indicated that the majority of homeworkers (87%) is women. It became clear that there is a lack of common understanding in Indonesia of homeworkers as ‘workers’ in an employment relationship. Misconceptions and lack of understanding of the legal status and rights of homeworkers is prevalent among employers, contractors, government and, importantly even among homeworkers themselves. Consequently, homeworkers are vulnerable to high levels of exploitation. Their work is characterized by unpredictable employment, precarious agreements, very low wages, long hours of work, arbitrary withholding of pay and dismissals, occupational health and safety hazards and commonly involves unpaid child labour.
Significant technical assistance and support is required to respond to the interest of developing a national regulation on homework and to enable partners to promote decent work for homeworkers. In this second phase, the Project builds on the knowledge and partnerships from the phase 1 to further contribute to the improved access to decent work for homeworkers and women with disabilities. Recognizing that women with disabilities are significantly disadvantaged in accessing decent employment opportunities, and that homework can provide an opportunity for them to support their livelihood, the Project also works to promote decent work for women with disabilities. The Project is grounded in a rights-based approach to women’s social and economic development.
Project strategiesIn order to promote gender equality in employment in general, and to address the challenges faced by homeworkers and women workers with disabilities in accessing decent work in particular, the Project implements the following strategies:
1. Pilot innovative approaches to address challenges faced by homeworkers and women workers with disabilities in Indonesia
2. Strengthen the institutional capacity of implementing partners and other project partners to promote decent work and social and economic empowerment of women workers
3. Strengthen network among the key stakeholders at central, provincial and local levels to advocate for gender equality in employment and to promote decent work for homeworkers and women workers with disabilities
4. Identify good practices and collect relevant data through various researches to feed into policy and programme development.
The key components of each strategy are as follows:
1. Pilot innovative approaches to address challenges faced by homeworkers and women workers with disabilities in Indonesia.The Project, with its partner TUs and CSOs, is supporting the organization and capacity building of homeworkers to increase their representation and voice to advocate for decent work. TUs and CSOs will organize homeworkers in the Project locations and assist the homeworkers to establish groups and networks among themselves for learning, information and knowledge sharing and advocacy activities. The homeworkers will also receive training and capacity building from the TUs and CSOs on topics such as legal literacy, workers’ and human rights, gender equality, occupational safety and health, and leadership. These training are aimed at empowering women workers to voice and advocate for their rights as workers and as women and to take action on their own priorities in life. Women with disabilities will be actively identified and engaged in this process.
2. Strengthen the institutional capacity of implementing partners and other project partners to promote decent work and social and economic empowerment of women workers.The Project is providing technical assistance to partner TUs and CSOs and to strengthen their ability to organize and represent homeworkers, expand homeworkers networks and support homeworkers to improve their conditions of work and social protection. The project will implement Training of Trainers (TOT) on various topics such as gender equality, workers’ and human rights, OSH, and leadership so that they can transfer the knowledge to homeworkers. In addition, the Project will facilitate knowledge sharing among the partner organizations to share experience and good practices in organizing and training homeworkers. The Project will organize a study tour to India for partner organizations and homeworker leaders to learn from India’s experience, and support partner organizations in forming Homenet Indonesia, a national network of homeworkers.
The Project is also providing technical assistance to support the improvement of access to decent work of women homeworkers with disabilities. Starting from the second year, the Project will work with Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) and other stakeholders to support women workers with disabilities to access decent work. Institutional strengthening of DPOs and other stakeholders will be pursued to support formulation of responsive policy and programming advice.
Furthermore, the Project is partnering with APINDO and international buyers to strengthen women’s equality in employment, and particularly, to improve the working conditions of homeworkers in the putting out system. In phase 1, the Project in partnerships with APINDO and international buyers supported the development and implementation of guidelines for employers to improve understanding of their responsibilities vis-à-vis homeworkers and to strengthen compliance with the national law. In phase 2, the Project will continue to work with APINDO and international buyers to promote employers’ engagement in improving the working conditions of homeworkers and improving access to decent work by women with disabilities.
3. Strengthen network among the key stakeholders at central, provincial and local levels to advocate for gender equality in employment and to promote decent work for homeworkers and women workers with disabilities.At the local and provincial levels, the Project is working with key stakeholders to promote gender equality in employment and women workers’ access to decent work. This includes social dialogue forums among the government, TUs, homeworkers’ organizations, and DPOs, which will provide an opportunity for homeworkers’ and unions to raise concerns through a non-adversarial system and will provide space for the key stakeholders to discuss and determine mutually acceptable solutions to improve the working conditions of homeworkers and women with disabilities. This includes provision of policy advice and support for programme development and awareness raising on issues related to homeworkers, home-based women with disabilities and discrimination in employment.
At the national level, the Project is focusing on supporting policy and programme dialogue with the national government. Lessons and good practices from strategies 1 and 2, issues and solutions arising from the local/provincial level forums, and key data from strategy 4, will be actively shared at the national level forum to advocate for the development of appropriate policy and programme for homeworkers and women with disabilities.
Furthermore, the Project will collaborate with Better Work Indonesia (BWI) to integrate compliance assessment indicators to monitor companies’ use of homeworkers. The compliance assessment will be reviewed and responsive advice will be provided to enterprise advisers to improve employer compliance.
4. Identify good practices and collect relevant data through various researches to feed into policy and programme development.The number of homeworkers in the labour force as well as the working conditions of homeworkers are largely unknown due to unique characteristics of homework which make them invisible in the labour market. As they are largely invisible, sufficient attention and response has not been paid by policy makers, trade unions and employers to ensure decent work for homeworkers. Therefore, there is a need to collect data on homeworkers which can be used as a basis for advocating for policies and programmes to promote decent work for homeworkers.
The Project will partner with local researchers and universities to conduct mapping of homeworkers’ locations and the working conditions in the Project areas. The mapping exercise will also identify characteristics and challenges faced by women workers with disabilities. Partner TUs and CSOs will be closely involved in this process.
The Project will also carry out comparative research and analysis on the organization of homeworkers in four different countries – Chile, the Philippines, Thailand and India to learn the experiences of different countries in organizing and improving the working conditions of homeworkers.
In early 2015, the Project will provide technical assistance and resources to BPS to collect, classify and manage data on homeworkers, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups of women workers in the Labour Force Survey. The Project will assist in the analysis of data and dissemination of findings to stakeholders.
All of these researches are aimed at providing clearer picture and more accurate information on the issues of homeworkers and home-based women with disabilities in particular, and vulnerable groups of women workers in general, that will be utilized to feed into policy and programme development.
- Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas)
- Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration
- Ministry of Social Affairs
- Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo)
- Trade Unions
- International buyers
- Civil Society Organizations (CSOs): MWPRI, Yasanti, Bitra Indonesia, Trade Unions Rights Centre
- Disabled People’s Organizations
- DFAT’s MAMPU program partners: Aisyiah, Bakti, Institut Kapal Perempuan, Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia, Komnas Perempuan, Migrant Care, Pekka, Permampu