‘Allow marriage between co-workers’ Indonesians demand

family law

A group in Indonesia have called on the government to allow co-workers to marry each other.

Many employers in the southeast Asian country prohibit their staff marrying one another. Such bans are justified by claims that they prevent nepotism or that marriages between employees can disturb the professional atmosphere of the workplace. If a couple meet at work and decide to get married, it is common for one party to resign so their partner can continue their employment with the company.

This situation has arisen from a loophole in the Indonesian Labour Law. Article 153 of this legislation declares that businesses are “prohibited from terminating employment of the worker” if they are related “through marriage to another worker in the enterprise unless so required in the collective work agreement or the enterprise’s rules and regulations”.

So while sacking someone for who they are in a relationship with is technically illegal, the exception provided in this law allows companies to put restrictions in place.

This week, the practice was challenged in the country’s Constitutional Court, which has the final say in any dispute relating to the Indonesian Constitution. The eight workers who sought a judicial review of the law claimed that private company policies should not supersede the importance of marriage and that the restrictions violate their human rights.

Campaigner Jhoni Boetja told Detik News that people will continue to be fired “just because the worker wants to carry out their religious duty to get married” if the law was not changed.  He added that “finding one’s match for marriage can’t be denied because love between a man and a woman is hard to resist”.

The Indonesian Employers Association has opposed the bid. They insist that the possibility of a conflict of interest arising from co-worker marriages outweighs any positive outcomes.

Photo of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, by Stefan Magdalinski via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Paul - May 16, 2017 at 12:12pm

Can I just check this is the year 2017 ? – lol
Sacked for wanting to marry a co-worker lol Reality is if you spend most your working life in one place. That is pretty much where you will meet people. Business should fit around humans not the other way round.

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