Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Constitutional Court Upholds Validity of Job Creation Law

The Jakarta Globe
October 2, 2023 | 11:08 pm
Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman, center, leads a hearing to deliver a ruling on the job creation law in Jakarta, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)
Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman, center, leads a hearing to deliver a ruling on the job creation law in Jakarta, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)

Jakarta. The Constitutional Court delivered a decisive ruling on Monday, rejecting a motion by labor unions aimed at annulling a government regulation in lieu of the job creation law, which has been criticized for favoring employers over workers.

In a tight decision, all nine Constitutional Court justices voted 5-4 in favor of the government, marking a significant development in the ongoing legal battle surrounding the job creation law. The law was originally adopted by the House of Representatives and the government in 2020.

The Constitutional Court had previously suspended the law in November 2021, citing several reasons: it violated established procedures and standards for lawmaking, contained substantial wording changes from the initial agreement between the House and the president, and lacked sufficient public participation in the drafting process.

However, the court provided a two-year window for revisions by the legislative and executive branches, extending until November 2023. If no changes were made by then, the law would be deemed unconstitutional and permanently annulled.


In response to this ruling, President Joko Widodo issued a government regulation in lieu of the job creation law in December 2022, which was subsequently enacted into law by the House in March 2023. This move prompted 14 labor unions and the Labor Party to file a motion with the court, alleging procedural violations in the government's actions.

The plaintiffs argued that the president issued the regulation in lieu of the job creation law on December 30, 2022, during a recess period for the House. Furthermore, House members did not immediately enact the regulation during their session from January 10 to February 16.

The government regulation was ultimately enacted into law in March, during the second House session of the year. The plaintiffs contended that this indicated a lack of full support from the House for the law.

However, the Constitutional Court asserted that the law is an omnibus collection that "encompasses 78 different and inter-sectoral regulations" and that it is normal for such a comprehensive law to take time to be enacted, according to Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman.

The plaintiffs also argued that there was no urgent need for the immediate issuance of the job creation law. In response, the court supported the government's position, citing global crises stemming from geopolitical tensions related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ongoing economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. These factors were considered a compelling reason to issue the omnibus law, which is intended to create new jobs and aid in national economic recovery.

Among the justices, four presented dissenting opinions: Wahiduddin Adams, Saldi Isra, Enny Nurbaningsih, and Suhartoyo.

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