Did you know there are 24 public holidays in Indonesia in 2017? Yes I know it seems more – and so many of them on Thursday, Friday or Monday creating the inevitable long weekend!

Since three fell on Saturday or Sunday that’s 21 working days or 8% of the working year. Now I know I’m an entrepreneur, not a real working person, so my perspective is different, but to me that’s too much. Companies already pay a minimum of 8,3% in THR bonus (that’s 1 months wages or 1/12th of the year). So giving away another month in public holidays just doesn’t make sense.

So the average company in Indonesia pays 13 months salary for 10.5 months work (that’s less the two weeks standard holiday) but I’ll bet, with mandatory funerals, taking parents and children to the hospital, collecting school reports, renewing SIMs, passports, KTPs, Kartu Keluargas, going to the bank, and having sick days (including mandatory “period” days) that falls to way less than 10 months work for 13 months salary. That’s a nice 77% productivity ratio for the employee. Or a massive 33% disappointment for the employer.

OK, it sounds like I’m a total killjoy, but I’m not. Work should be challenging, fun, rewarding and satisfying but so often is not, which is the fault of the employer, and which often leads to late arrivals and absenteeism since the employee is demotivated and uninspired. But some effort should come from the employee too: to learn more skills, practice the ones they have, put in the hours to improve their performance through training, learning, reading and practice.

Everyone is jealous of the top sports and music celebrities earning millions of dollars, but few want to spend the 10 -14 hours a day practice and training that’s necessary to get there. And that’s what it takes. It’s a grind.

But back to the problem: the Indonesian government is not helping to increase the productivity of its industry or indeed its school system by reducing the working year by 8%. We need to win the export wars, we need to increase our commitment to success by trying harder, longer and clearer, not shorter, softer and more relaxed – including the all important school year. Let’s get on the right track soon. Can we actually just cancel some unnecessary public holidays and keep working and learning? I guess that won’t be too popular!

And finally the current great debate over motorcycle access to the CBD: the answer is simple, anyone who needs access to Sudirman, Thamrin, Gatot Subroto or Kuningan should pay for an access pass. Please please please finish the Electronic Road Control System and all can be monitored, administered, controlled and enjoyed. It’s ten years overdue and will reduce congestion ad increase revenue in one go.

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair Speirs

Alistair Speirs

Alistair has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for 25 years. He started NOW! Magazines as the region’s preferred community magazine.