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It’s hard to avoid mass layoffs of store workers, even though PPKM has been relaxed

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Ekonom menilai pengusaha mal tetap kesulitan menghindari ancaman PHK massal meskipun PPKM dilonggarkan dan mal kembali beroperasi lagi pada 26 Juli nanti.

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

The government plans to reopen shopping centers or times on July 26, 2021, if the spread of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia decreases or PPKM level 4 can go to level 3. The new regulation of the Ministry of the Interior states that shopping centers may open with a capacity of 25 percent and are limited to 5 p.m. WIB.

It is hoped that social and economic activities can be resumed. Unfortunately, mall entrepreneurs who are members of the Indonesian Mall Management Association (APPBI) are not so confident that this easing can quickly restore mall and retail performance.

This is because the conditions are difficult as the policy of opening and closing shopping centers has been going on for more than 1.5 years. As a result, the shopping center entrepreneur’s reserve funds have been used up.

Their hopes of a comeback this year were even dashed with the Micro PPKM policy that suddenly changed to Emergency PPKM in more than 2 weeks.

“The sacrifices of more than a year, almost two years have made it very difficult for the company. At the end of last year there was news that shopping centers were sold or closed because the conditions no longer mattered,” said APPBI General Chairman Alphonzus Widjaja, Wednesday (21/7). ).

Due to this condition, APPBI predicts that 84 thousand employees or 30 percent of the approximately 280 thousand store employees across Indonesia will be laid off or laid off this year. This number does not include employees of retail or retail tenants, so the potential for layoffs could be greater.

Due to the heavy burden of mall managers, shop tenants and employees, the association has asked the government to provide some incentives. For example, easing electricity rates, tax and levy exemptions, and reducing rental costs for store managers and store tenants.

As for the employees of the mall, the association wants a salary subsidy program of about 50 percent. For example, half of the salaries of managers and shops is paid, the other half is paid by the state.

“This grant does not have to be given to malls, but directly to employees through the BPJS Employment mechanism or other mechanisms,” he said.

The Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah heard this complaint, so the government prepared a Salary Grant BLT for formal workers in the non-essential and non-critical sector in the implementation area of ​​PPKM level 4. under IDR 3.5 million per month .

The problem is that there is no specific explanation that this Salary Grant BLT can also be enjoyed by store employees. This is because, according to Ida’s preliminary statement, the plan is to give the Salary Grant BLT to the industrial sector, consumer goods, service goods, excluding education and health services, transportation, various industries, real estate and real estate.

“In response to the decline in community activities impacting the economy and purchasing power of workers, and to support businesses and workers during the pandemic and PPKM, we are proposing to provide wage subsidies to affected workers,” Ida said.

In addition to the unclear BLT policy on salary subsidies, Indef economist Nailul Huda admitted that he doubted whether PPKM’s easing could reduce the threat of layoffs of 84 thousand shop workers in Indonesia. He is also still unsure that the Covid-19 case can be brought under control quickly and that PPKM can be relaxed.

“Our tests are still very low, not even 500 thousand a day, not even 200 thousand. So, how can we get positive or negative cases if our tests are low?” Huda said to CNNindonesia.com, Thursday (22/7).

According to him, easing PPKM is difficult to achieve in the near future. Meanwhile, if the government continues to relax PPKM rules and open shopping malls, but the number of cases continues to rise, people will still be reluctant to go to malls.

“As a result, 84,000 workers will not be able to be rescued. If things don’t work out, it is possible that some of the 84,000 workers will be rescued from layoffs,” said Huda.

But even those who were saved were not necessarily many. This is because mall operations are still limited in the era of PPKM easing later, which is only allowed to open at 25 percent capacity and until 5:00 PM WIB.

“So the best policy is to end the pandemic,” he added.

Huda went on to say that it was time for the government to implement a real policy for store managers, store tenants and store employees. For example, releasing taxes in this way during the PPKM period. Social assistance (bansos) is also absolutely given to shop workers because they have lost their source of income.

BLT Salary Grant

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