Sunday, December 7, 2014


      Jakarta, Dec 8, 2014 (Antara) - The government is planning to reduce the working hours of women civil servants with infants to give them more time to tend to family matters.
    Currently, every Indonesian civil servant has to work eight hours a day, but if the government's plan is implemented, then female workers having infants will have to work only six hours a day.
   The reduction of working hours will only be applicable to female civil servants having children below six years of age.
   "Thus, this is not applicable to all (female civil servants)," Minister for State Apparatuses and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi recently stated.

     The plan to reduce working hours of female civil servants by two hours is an initiative put forth by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. 
      Its main objective is to ensure Indonesia's bright future as working mothers will be able to devote more time to their children and will thus be able to take better care of them.
    Kalla earlier noted that the reduction in working hours for female civil servants with infants is still being discussed, and several people had yet to gain a comprehensive understanding about this initiative.
    Minister Chrisnandi remarked that his ministry and the House of Representatives (DPR) will discuss a proposal to reduce the working hours of female employees.
    "We will discuss this. It is a good advice, which takes into consideration their families and children, and helps to create harmony in the family," he remarked.
   The minister noted that the government has been considerate about women employees having infants.
   "We will begin by seeking the opinion of all government agencies, from ministries to sub-district offices, about the move," he stated.
     Minister Chrisnandi further remarked that the idea is part of the government's efforts to improve the welfare of civil servants as it could help to reduce their expenses on baby sitters.
    In fact, not all civil servants have the ability to afford baby sitters, he emphasized. The government will create new rules to make workplaces comfortable for female civil servants who have babies and to ensure effectiveness and productivity at work, he noted. 
    In response to the central government's initiative, the Denpasar city administration in Bali Province, for instance, plans to open childcare centers in a bid to help female employees nurture and spend time with their infants. Thus, there will be lesser absenteeism at work on the pretext of tending to their children.
     The idea to reduce working hours is supported by the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN).
    "The BKKBN supports the idea as it is very good and pro-children," Acting Chairman of BKKBN Fasli Jalal recently noted in Jatinangor, West Java.
     A two-hour reduction in working hours is quite significant, according to him.
     "It means that the children will have more time to interact with their mothers, and it is crucial for the growth of children," he emphasized.
     Besides this, the presence of parents significantly influences the quality of upbringing of the children, he added.
     However, not everyone supports the idea of reduced working hours.
     The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), which has recorded increasing cases of violence against women and children in several areas across the country, also rejected the idea.
      Andy Yentriyani of Komnas Perempuan criticized the government for coming up with such an idea, which she believes places all the responsibility of ensuring the child's development squarely on the shoulders of women, the Jakarta Post reported.
    "Such a move is not the answer. We all need to think about the matter comprehensively, and therefore, we would be able to offer a comprehensive solution," she stated.
    She added that the government should be able to see other aspects behind the problem, for instance, whether the government has ensured that the basic needs of mothers are fulfilled.
     "We need to remember that both mothers and fathers share the burden," she emphasized.
     "Instead, such a move seems to make women solely responsible for the family, domestic affairs, and children," she was quoted as saying by the English daily.
     Another objection was raised by Minister for Empowerment of Women and Protection of Children Yohana Yambise.
     "How can women be empowered if their working hours are reduced?" she recently questioned.
     Minister Yambise, however, noted that the public's perception towards women must be changed, adding that she did not agree with the viewpoint that children's education was the sole responsibility of women.
    "Looking after children is the task of both men and women. This mindset of allowing women to work only in the kitchen after marriage must be wiped out," she emphasized.
     She added that reducing the working hours of female civil servants would limit their activities and not help them to further develop their careers, which would be discriminatory.
     The minister regretted the fact that she was not part of the discussion on the topic, even though it was actually part of her responsibilities.
     She also expressed regret that Minister Chrisnandi had approved the idea without seeking her opinion on the issue first.
     According to data provided by the State Administrative Agency (BKN), the male-to-female ratio in civil servants has improved significantly from 59:41 in 2003 to 52:48 in 2013.
     In 2003, the number of male civil servants was 2,172,285, and the number of female civil servants was 1,475,720.
     Ten years later, in 2013, the number of male and female civil servants was almost equal and was recorded at 2,260,608 male workers and 2,102,197 female workers.

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