An artisan works on a name plaque at his workshop in Lebak, Banten in February. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas)
1.4m Sign Up for Gov't Unemployment Benefit
APRIL 12, 2020
Jakarta. Around 1.4 million people had signed up for the government's unemployment benefit a day after the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs opened the online registration as the country endured seven weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government expected to roll out the unemployment benefit — known as pre-employment card, a flagship program during President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection campaign last year — throughout 2020 as businesses now feared more massive layoffs should the pandemic remain uncontrolled.
The official website, www.prakerja.go.id, was live on Saturday after several days of delay, opening for registration of job seekers as well as micro and small business owners who went bust during the pandemic.
"The interest [in getting the benefit] was extraordinary. Since it was launched last night until 4 p.m., more than 1.4 million have registered," Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto told BeritaSatu TV late on Sunday.
"We see the high interest as a reflection of the high expectation from the public for pre-employment card program," he said.
Under the program, each recipient would get total unemployment benefits worth Rp 3.55 million ($224). That consists of a training program worth Rp 1 million, post-training stipends of Rp 600,000 per month for four months, as well as three times evaluation surveys worth total Rp 150,000.
Airlangga said that the government was working round the clock to ensure the rightful recipients received the benefit.
"To be able to participate in this program, the conditions are Indonesian citizens over the age of 18 who are not attending formal education, employees affected by layoffs or micro and small business owners whose businesses are not operating properly," Airlangga said.
Also, the prospective recipient for unemployment benefit must not accept other social aid programs, he said.
"We will crosscheck these data with NIK," Airlangga said, referring to the national identity number.
Airlangga said that the government plans to accept 164,000 benefit recipients for the program's first batch. As of Sunday, there were already 77,000 people who meet the criteria for the aids.
"Until the end of 2020, it is planned that there will be more than 30 batches of registration. The total budget provided by the government for this year is Rp 20 trillion," Airlangga said.
Manpower Ministry said last week that more than 150,000 people had lost their jobs, and 1.35 million others were furloughed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"The layoffs were the final choice as there were no alternatives available," the Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said.
Before conducting layoffs, employers must first to reduce wages and facilities for upper-level management, reduce work shifts, eliminate overtime work, reduce working hours, reduce workdays, and furlough some workers in rotation, she said.