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  • 13th month

    I keep hearing conflicting theories about expat employees being legally entitled to a 13th month bonus payment. Some say this is a legal requirement, others argue equally plausibly that it is just a fairly standard part of the package like health assurance.

    Anyone know the definitive answer?

  • #2
    If by 13th month you are refering to the Tunjangan Hari Raya, then it should apply to any worker, Indonesian or foreigner. The law makes absolutely no distinction of nationality ("Pekerja adalah tenaga kerja yang bekerja pada Pengusaha dengan menerima upah"). Any worker with more than 3 months seniority in a comapny is eligible for the payment of THR which is calculated like this:
    - 1 month of salary for any woirker with 12 months+ seniority in the company.
    - THR will be proportional to the seniority for those who have a seniority in between 3 to 12 months.

    From what I remenber from the law:
    THR has to be paid in one time a week before the main religious holiday (Idul Fitri, hari natal...etc) of the worker's religion, unless agreed otherwise by the employer and the employee. Also, part of the THR (I think that it is 25% or 33%, can't remenber) can be substitued, with the agreement of the worker, by other means than money (ex: obat, voucher belanja...etc). Anything regulating it should be written in the working contract.

    Having the Depnakertrans' Cerbčres moving for an expat's rights may be good fun though. Expats are entitled to it but rarely they will get it.
    Last edited by atlantis; 05-08-10, 09:13.

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    • #3
      I know this is not paid in my company. I have only just started, but a colleague who is a 30 year veteran of Indonesia pointed it out in a meeting recently. The Human Resources Manager was quite taken aback by it. He said it certainly did not apply to expats. The point was not pressed, and no more was ever heard about it. Later my colleague said he knew that it would never be paid, but he had wanted to educate people about the law.

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      • #4
        A friend of mine has a business, they have factory contracts which state that THR will be paid monthly over a 12 month period. (ie higher pay every month, but no 13th payment). Nearly every year some dickhead complains about not getting their THR, even though it is written in the contract.

        I wonder if it is worth the grief. (but I understand where he is coming from)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Morty View Post
          I know this is not paid in my company. I have only just started, but a colleague who is a 30 year veteran of Indonesia pointed it out in a meeting recently. The Human Resources Manager was quite taken aback by it. He said it certainly did not apply to expats. The point was not pressed, and no more was ever heard about it. Later my colleague said he knew that it would never be paid, but he had wanted to educate people about the law.
          I suppose that they could argue that the end of contract bonuses and/or Christmas bonus' account for this....

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          • #6
            Go to http://www.nakertrans.go.id/? Look for Permenaker Nomor :PER-04/MEN/1994 Tentang Tunjangan Hari Raya Keagamaan
            Pasal 1 C refers to the post by Atlantis and I believe Pasal 2 is about payment. I also called Manpower, quoting from the document above and asked if it included expats. They said it did. I then went to HRD, again referring to the document above.They said they would discuss it at the next board meeting. I guess that is progress.




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            • #7
              I've been involved (as an observer) in such board meetings in the past. The consensus was that Expats were "already overpaid" and that the official line would be that the 13th month was "already included" in their monthly salaries as it would be "unfair" to only pay pro rata for the months worked for those on a 1 year contract (renewable) ie almost everyone.

              Disclaimer: These opinions may not necessarily be universally held.

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              • #8
                My husband's employer paid him a 13th salary this December. He even asked them about it, just to make sure it was all on the up-and-up, before we spent it. His boss was like, "Yes, of course! You get the same bonus that all of the other teachers get!" We suspected he might get a bonus, since he gets all of the other bonuses that the teachers do (attendance bonuses, etc...) and it had been mentioned in passing a few times. Despite that, we didn't want to count our chickens before they hatched so, from a financial standpoint, the income was unplanned. Since it was basically 'free' money, I let my husband spend it on the giant flat-screen TV he'd been lusting after. Needless to say, the bonus money is long gone.

                We were singing the praises of his boss, how kind and generous and fair and law-abiding she was, up until this morning. See, on Friday I mentioned in passing to a colleague that my husband got a bonus from his employer but that our employer didn't bonus me. They insisted that must have been a mistake and that I should just talk to our HR person, because I was most def entitled to a 13th salary as well. I shot my HR person an email and this morning I heard back from them. Not only did they claim that in no way, shape, or form was I entitled to a bonus, but they also claimed that they spoke to my husband's employer regarding his bonus and that it was a 'mistake'.

                Apparently, his employer 'forgot' that we have an end-of-contract flight reimbursement/relocation bonus written into our employment agreement. It's only USD$1,500, which is just about exactly the amount of money that a round-trip ticket to/from the States costs during the summer. In fact, they're often MORE expensive than that, meaning that we could still end up out-of-pocketing money on our plane tickets-- not to mention the relocation/moving costs. (We're not moving back to the States in June, but that's neither here nor there. The point is we came from the States at our own expense and the employer should give us money to get home-- and reimburse us for the cost of getting to Indonesia. How we actually spend that money isn't really any of their concern.)

                Now my husband's employer is claiming that she 'forgot' about the flight money and that she didn't 'budget' for 'two bonuses'. (A claim I find hard to believe, since there were extensive conversations about the dollar amount of the flight reimbursement during our contract negotiations. There's no way anyone 'forgot' about that.) She also claimed that since she gave him the 13th salary, she's not giving him the end-of-contract flight money. She said that it wasn't until my employer called to find out if my claim (that Ry got bonused) was true and reminded her about our end-of-contract 'bonus' (it's not really a bonus, it's a refund) that she realized the 'mistake' she'd made.

                I call total BS. This screws us in so many ways. First, we ASKED about the money-- it was made clear that it was bonus money, so we spent it. It's gone. Now we're suddenly finding out that we're not going to get $1,500 that we'd counted on-- even though we aren't moving back to the States with that money, that money had been a part of our budgeting and this new development turns our next few months upside-down. If we knew that the money was his flight bonus, we never would have spent it-- especially not so frivolously!

                Plus, whether or not it's actually done, it IS the law that all employees in Indonesia-- foreigner or Indonesian-- receive a 13th salary. I don't care to get into a debate about whether expat employees already earn enough-- in my book, that's a moot point, especially since I know several professional Indonesians who earn FAR more than my teacher salary and get all sorts of other perks, like cars+drivers, generous vacation time, health insurance, and (of course!) a 13th salary. If you're going to argue that expats 'already make enough', then you also need to argue the same about any middle-to-upper management Indonesian. Unless you're prepared to argue that only people in low-level jobs, like nannies, pembantus, sopirs, and casiers, should get bonused, I don't want to hear it.

                So... What would you do if you were me? We have two issues. Issue one (the lesser issue) is the issue of my employer not bonusing me, despite it being required by law. Trying to get that enforced is probably going to be absolutely impossible, I know. Issue two (the larger issue) is the issue of my husband's 13th salary suddenly being turned into his flight reimbursement and the claim that he won't be getting any money at the end of his contract.

                It would probably be pretty easy to fight this new development and insist on the flight money-- the money he was given in December is OBVIOUSLY a 13th salary. The amount is NOT the same as the USD$1,500 flight reimbursement and it's *exactly* the amount that a prorated 13th salary would be. Plus, they're contractually bound to give him the flight money. To argue it, they'd have to claim that they 'accidentally' gave him the 13th salary-- the same money that they're obligated by law to give him. It might take some fighting, but I'm sure we could win that battle.

                The real question is, though, is it worth it? At this point, there's no way in hell that we're signing another contract with them. There are too many schools looking for too many teachers-- no reason to stick around if there's any 'funny business'. At this point, we're just gritting our teeth and dealing with it because we've got six months left and no secure job offer for next school year.

                KW, I'd especially like to hear from you, since I think we might work at the same family of schools. (A little birdy told me so.) Any other nat+ and international school teachers should feel free to chime in, too. Did you get a Christmas bonus? Even if it wasn't a 13th salary, did you get anything? What about end-of-contract? Is it just flight money or is it a bonus + flight?

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                • #9
                  SamanthaB, from my experience it's an either/or thing. Either you get the plane ticket OR the bonus, but not both. That's how it is at where I work.

                  I signed my last contract agreeing to neither bonuses though so I don't think it's mandatory if it's stipulated otherwise in your contract. However, you need to read your contract and see if it is stipulated in the contract.

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                  • #10
                    You might want to try reaching KW by PM ... he has not posted since being reinstated after his temporary ban.

                    Sorry about your troubles.

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                    • #11
                      In every school I have worked at, the expat employees get return air ticket reimbursement + one month bonus payment at end of contract (which is equivalent to thirteenth month bonus). Some schools have tried to tie this into a 'performance bonus', but have quickly been voted down when the law was pointed out to them.

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                      • #12
                        You're either:

                        a) An employee and treated as such, or

                        b) A contractor and entitled to whatever is agreed to in your contract.

                        Contractor? What does your contract say?

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                        • #13
                          Sorry, in my long-winded rant I forgot to add a few things:

                          For most teachers, even those already located in-country, an annual (or bi-annual) plane ticket to their home country is an automatic. Also fairly standard (at least at 'proper' schools, language school are a different beast) is an annual bonus, usually equal to one month of wages, generally paid at the end of contract but sometimes paid during the holidays.

                          Even if the plane ticket home wasn't an automatic, it would have been in our case-- we left our first Indonesian contract 9 months in to take the positions with our current employers. We signed a longer-than-normal contract and forfeited our right to our initial flight reimbursement with the express understanding that, at the end of our new contract with our new employer, we would receive $1,500 per person as flight reimbursement money. There was extensive negotiation around this point and the school representatives were/are well aware of how important that money was/is to us.

                          It should further be noted that the flight money is *not* a 'bonus'-- it's a reimbursement for money that we already spent, the money that it cost us to move to Indonesia in the first place, which we did out of pocket. (Like I said, that money would have been repayed to us last year by our original employer, but we broke that contract to work for our current school. When we broke the contract we lost the reimbursement, something that our new employer guaranteed to pay us at the end of the new contract.)

                          In our contract, we are described as employees-- NOT contracted individuals. We are sponsored as employees of our school. As mandated by our school's head office, our contract is *exactly* the same as the contracts for the local teachers. The only difference is the verbiage that was added to address immigration, housing, etc... And I waived my right to paid maternity leave. Everything else is the same. In none of the contracts-- ours or the regular teachers-- does it mention the 13th month. I think it's just assumed.

                          In all honesty, had my husband *not* received a December bonus, we never would have brought it up, even though I'd seen this thread long ago and knew that we were technically legally entitled to one. It's the last-minute switcharoo they're trying to pull, wherein not only do I NOT get a 13th month, but now my husband doesn't get his flight money, that's pissing me off and causing the problem. If we had been told in December that the money was the flight money, we never would have spent it. His employer made it excruciatingly clear that the money was his Christmas bonus, which she said he was entitled to. (And which he is entitled to. Which both of us are entitled to.)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SamanthaB View Post
                            Sorry, in my long-winded rant I forgot to add a few things:

                            For most teachers, even those already located in-country, an annual (or bi-annual) plane ticket to their home country is an automatic. Also fairly standard (at least at 'proper' schools, language school are a different beast) is an annual bonus, usually equal to one month of wages, generally paid at the end of contract but sometimes paid during the holidays.

                            Even if the plane ticket home wasn't an automatic, it would have been in our case-- we left our first Indonesian contract 9 months in to take the positions with our current employers. We signed a longer-than-normal contract and forfeited our right to our initial flight reimbursement with the express understanding that, at the end of our new contract with our new employer, we would receive $1,500 per person as flight reimbursement money. There was extensive negotiation around this point and the school representatives were/are well aware of how important that money was/is to us.

                            It should further be noted that the flight money is *not* a 'bonus'-- it's a reimbursement for money that we already spent, the money that it cost us to move to Indonesia in the first place, which we did out of pocket. (Like I said, that money would have been repayed to us last year by our original employer, but we broke that contract to work for our current school. When we broke the contract we lost the reimbursement, something that our new employer guaranteed to pay us at the end of the new contract.)

                            In our contract, we are described as employees-- NOT contracted individuals. We are sponsored as employees of our school. As mandated by our school's head office, our contract is *exactly* the same as the contracts for the local teachers. The only difference is the verbiage that was added to address immigration, housing, etc... And I waived my right to paid maternity leave. Everything else is the same. In none of the contracts-- ours or the regular teachers-- does it mention the 13th month. I think it's just assumed.

                            In all honesty, had my husband *not* received a December bonus, we never would have brought it up, even though I'd seen this thread long ago and knew that we were technically legally entitled to one. It's the last-minute switcharoo they're trying to pull, wherein not only do I NOT get a 13th month, but now my husband doesn't get his flight money, that's pissing me off and causing the problem. If we had been told in December that the money was the flight money, we never would have spent it. His employer made it excruciatingly clear that the money was his Christmas bonus, which she said he was entitled to. (And which he is entitled to. Which both of us are entitled to.)
                            What does your contract state?

                            Since you are under a contract with a stipulated duration (assumption here, correct if I am wrong), I believe you would be a contracted employee.

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                            • #15
                              We are under a contract with a stipulated finish date, but it's one of those Indo-style ones where if I don't give notice about my intent to quit, I'm still technically employed here even after the contract expires-- I'm actually required to give notice, if that's what I want to do, four months before the contract expires. The contract is more of a 'you can't leave before this date' agreement than a 'your job ends on this date' agreement. And we're not the only ones on a contract-- every single employee at my school has a contract. Most employees in Indonesia have contracts, don't they? I was under the impression that that was the norm. In either case, if it's a question of am I an independent contractor vs. a company employee, I'm most definitely a company employee.

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