Are INGOs’ Operations Exempted From PSBB?

  • On Large-Scale Restriction Measures

Due to the current outbreak of the novel corona virus disease (“Covid-19”), the Government of Indonesia recently implemented the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar or “PSBB”) with the issuance of the Minister of Health (the “MOH”) Regulation No. 9 of 2020 dated April 3, 2020 on Guidelines for Large-Scale Social Restrictions for the Acceleration of the Management of the Covid-19 (“Regulation 9/2020”).

Law No. 6 of 2018 dated August 8, 2018 on Health Quarantine (“Law 6/2018”) defines the PSBB as the restriction of certain activities of the residents in an area suspected to be infected by a disease (in our case, the Covid-19) and/or an area that is contaminated to a certain degree, in order to prevent the possibility of the spreading of the disease or the contamination (in this case, the Covid-19).

Following Regulation 9/2020 and MOH Decree No. HK.01.07/MENKES/239/2020, the Regional Government of DKI Jakarta Province implements the PSBB measures within the territory of DKI Jakarta based on the Governor Regulation No. 33 of 2020 dated April 9, 2020 on the Implementation of Large-Scale Social Restrictions for the Management of the Covid-19 in the DKI Jakarta Province (“Regulation 33/2020”). Under the DKI Jakarta Governor Decree No. 380 of 2020 dated April 9, 2020 on the Enforcement of the Implementation Large-Scale Social Restrictions for the Management of the Covid-19 in the DKI Jakarta Province (“Decree 380”), the PSBB is effective as of April 10, 2020 until April 23, 2020. The PSBB may be extended by the DKI Jakarta Governor for 14 (fourteen) days. Under the DKI Jakarta Governor Decree No. 412 of 2020 dated April 22, 2020, the PSBB in Jakarta is now extended until May 7, 2020 and shall be extended until May 21, 2020 in the event that there are still new cases of Covid-19.

The implementation of the PSBB includes: (i) schools and workplaces closure; (ii) restrictions of religious activities; (iii) restrictions of activities at public places or facilities; (iv) restrictions of activities in social and culture; (v) restrictions of modes of transportation; and (vi) restrictions of other activities specifically related to defense and security. Accordingly for the DKI Jakarta Province, under Regulation 33/2020, all “non-essential” businesses are required to temporarily suspend their activities at the workplaces. Regulation 33/2020 further elaborates that during the workplace closure, an employer shall replace the working process from workplace or offices to working from home.

There are certain categories that constitute “essential” businesses which are exempted from the workplace closure under Regulation 33/2020. One of the businesses which is exempted from the workplace closure is local and international social organizations (organisasi kemasyarakatan) that engage in the disaster and/or social sectors. In other words, local and international social organizations that engage in the disaster and/or social sectors whose offices are located within the DKI Jakarta Province may continue their operations, subject to certain protocols elaborated below.

  • Workplace Closure Exemption for International Non-Governmental Organizations

Please note that Regulation 33/2020 does not define or determine the scope of (i) local and international social organizations, and (ii) the disaster and/or social sectors.

Social organizations (organisasi kemasyarakatan) are defined in Law No. 17 of 2013 dated July 22, 2013 on Social Organizations as lastly amended by Government Regulation In Lieu of Law No. 2 of 2017 dated July 10, 2017 on Amendment of Law No. 17 of 2013 on Social Organizations (“Law 17/2013”) as organizations which are established and formed voluntarily by the society based on common aspiration, wills, needs, interests, activities, and objectives to participate in the development to achieve the objective of Republic of Indonesia based on Pancasila. Law 17/2013 specifies that social organizations shall be voluntary, social, independent, non-profit, and democratic in nature.

With regard to foreign social organizations, Government Regulation No. 59 of 2016 dated December 6, 2016 on Social Organizations Established by Foreign Nationals (“GR 59/2016”) clarifies that foreign social organizations shall consist of:

  1. A foreign foundation, or a similar form, headquartered in a country that has diplomatic relations with Indonesia. The foreign foundation may be (a) an International NGO to implement its activities with its own funding, or (b) an implementing agency to implement a certain program on behalf of a foreign donor or any development agency; and
  2. A foundation (yayasan) (i.e., the Foreign Foundation) established under Indonesian laws by any foreign party (an individual or an entity) with or without any Indonesian party (an individual or an entity).

Foreign social organizations noted above are required to obtain principal permits issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the operational permits. Based on the above, it appears that international social organizations referred to in Regulation 33/2020 are foreign social organizations under GR 59/2016.

Let us now discuss the definition of disaster and social sectors. Pursuant to Article 1 point 1 of Law No. 24 of 2007 dated April 26, 2007 on Management of Disasters, a disaster is defined as an event or a series of events that is threatening and disturbing the community life and livelihood, caused by natural and/or non-natural as well as human factor which results in human fatalities, environmental damage, loss of material possession, and psychological impact. On the other hand, we note that there is no specific definition on the word of “social” under the laws. In this regard, we refer to the definition of “social” provided by the official dictionary of the Ministry of Education and Culture which defines social as something related to the society. In practice, we understand that social sector involves any activities for the interest of human. Therefore, such definition may be interpreted in a broad manner.

  • Further Provisions on Exemption of Workplace Closure

Based on the above, foreign social organizations in DKI Jakarta Province may open their offices in Jakarta as they are eligible for the exemption of workplace closure under Regulation 33/2020. In continuing the operation of their offices, INGOs that are exempted from the workplace closure are subject to certain health protocols set out in Regulation 33/2020.

Further to the above, the Department of Manpower, Transmigration, and Energy (Dinas Tenaga Kerja, Transmigrasi, dan Energi or “Disnakertrans”) of DKI Jakarta Province recently issued Decree No. 837 of 2020 dated April 17, 2020 on Technical Guidelines for Implementation of Large-Scale Restriction (PSBB) on Working Activity in Workplace (“Decree 837/2020”). In general, Decree 837/2020 provides the measures regarding technical implementation of the PSBB on working activity and the reporting requirement for offices/workplaces that are exempted from the workplace closure.

Any violation of the above may subject the INGOs to sanctions under prevailing laws and regulations. Decree 837/2020 is effective for the period of implementation of the PSBB is effective in the DKI Jakarta Province.


April 27, 2020

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