Thousands of retail workers all furloughed as pandemic restrictions extended

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

From Medan to Surabaya, mall staffers across Indonesia are facing furloughs as the Covid-19 restrictions on social movement and group activities have been extended. As part of the restrictions, malls are not allowed to operate and restaurants are only allowed to provide home delivery service.

“There are around 280.000 total mall staffers in Indonesia. 30% of them have their jobs on the line at the moment, due to the extension of restrictions,” said Alphonsus Widjaja, the Chairman of the Indonesian Shopping Centre Management Association, in a statement to local media.

This means around 84.000 mall employees in Indonesia could be furloughed for the length of the pandemic. In Indonesia’s second-largest city Surabaya, 10.000 mall staffers of Pakuwon Mall have been formally stood down as a result of the restrictions. Similarly, in Bandung and Medan, 12,500 and 7,000 mall staffers have been furloughed, respectively.

With the potential and confirmed furloughs, it has been reported that malls across Indonesia will face a combined loss of up to IDR5 trillion, or around USD 347.5 billion.

Widjaja requested the government to subsidize as much as 50% of the salary received by mall employees who were laid off. While there is no confirmation of the 50% subsidy being provided, it is known that the Indonesian government has provided its citizens with a monthly income of IDR 600.000 or USD 42 per month to lower and middle-income persons during the pandemic.

Indonesia recently reported its highest number of Covid-19 infections to date, with over 50,000 cases recorded on 15 July alone.

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