Labour and Human Rights

Musim Mas respects, protects and upholds the human rights of our employees and communities. We are guided by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

As a member of POIG, we are committed to raising the bar on labor standards through the development and implementation of innovations that address common labor rights issues. We started aligning our policies and practices in 2015 with the Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production Principles. We have undertaken an independent labor audit in collaboration with Verité, which we have used as a basis for implementing changes and improvements. Musim Mas is also a member of the RSPO Human Rights Working Group and the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Social Requirements Working Group.

The wellbeing of our workers and local communities where we operate in are of utmost importance to us. Musim Mas is firmly committed to building sustained, long-term partnerships with the communities, and we strive to ensure they all have access to the benefits of a sustainable model of oil palm development.

Labor and human rights issues in the palm oil supply chain remain an industry-wide challenge. We recognize the complexity of this challenge and have increased our focus on identifying and addressing labor issues throughout our operations.

In August 2016, Musim Mas underwent an independent labor compliance assessment in partnership with Verité to identify risks of non-conformance to various international standards relating to worker protection and occupational health and safety.

The audit covered three main areas: labor and human rights, compensation and hours, and health and safety, comprising in-depth independent interviews with management, working staff and unions, document review, as well as site inspections.

The following good labor practices were highlighted by Verité:

  • Strong “no child labor” policies.
  • Protection of workers’ rights on minimum wage and ensuring permanent worker status after three months of probation.
  • Low precarious employment rate.
  • Good maternity policies.

Verité also recommended improvements in areas such as overtime hours, legal rights of undocumented workers, equal benefits regardless of gender, and housing policies. We have successfully addressed the following issues:

  • Strengthened overtime policies to ensure compliance with legal standards.
  • Formalized temporary employment status through short-term contracts and insurances.
  • Ensure explicit recognition of women as heads of families, and providing them with entitlement to housing.
  • Explored ways to better distribute free, clean water to all households.

The full report can be accessed here.

Our workforce of almost 38,000 employees forms the backbone of our business. Every Musim Mas employee is empowered to succeed in a safe, progressive working environment that offers equal or better standards compared to the wider palm oil industry. Every employee is treated with dignity and respect, adequately and fairly compensated for overtime, has access to a fair and accountable grievance system, and is remediated for any unlawful or unethical treatment.

We monitor market developments to make sure that pay and working conditions at Musim Mas comply with legal or industry minimum standards in the countries where we operate to ensure they are sufficient to provide a decent living wage. Maintaining transparent and reliable records of all working hours and wages is also mandatory. All workers receive copies of their contracts and it is our policy that all workers retain control over their identity documents.

We invest heavily in infrastructural developments, including roads, housing, water supplies, medical facilities, schools and other amenities. Employees across all estates have the opportunity to share ideas and voice feedback on our operations during our annual Musim Mas Improvement Day.

No child, bonded or forced labor

Musim Mas strongly opposes the use of forced or trafficked labor, and we do not employ child labor in our operations. Our recruitment policy prohibits the employment of any individual under the age of 18. All job applicants are verified against minimum age requirements. In 2022, Musim Mas has no reported cases of child labour.

We have integrated age-verification measures into our recruitment procedure, including interviews for all applicants to prevent any underaged, forced or trafficked labor entering our workforce. These updated policies and procedures have been socialized regularly among our employees and through workers’ unions.

Among smallholders, it is not uncommon to bring family members under the age of 18 to “help” their parents or senior family members in the field. It is a cultural issue that we continue to work to address. We conduct regular socialization programs that cover the importance of education for child development, as well as children’s rights in the plantation context. Musim Mas provides schools and childcare centers in and around our plantations so that parents can go to work without having to worry about their children’s safety and education.

No harassment, abuse, or unlawful or unethical discrimination

Musim Mas does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace and maintains a policy of non-discrimination. Procedures are put in place to deal with workplace harassment and assault in a manner that guarantees the anonymity of the complainant, to avoid conflict between the engaged parties. Additionally, we have implemented an investigation and escalation procedure to ensure that related parties cannot intervene in the resolution of sexual assault or sexual harassment cases. This procedure is socialized periodically among workers and posted in workers’ housing areas.

The Musim Mas Gender Committee, an elected body comprising men and women, reviews policies pertaining to human rights and equality issues, focusing on vulnerable groups such as women and children. The Committee also establishes appropriate measures to address concerns such as menstruation leave, breastfeeding, sexual assault and domestic abuse. Under the guidance of management, the Committee facilitates the resolution of domestic abuse cases, promotes discussion of gender-related issues, disseminates knowledge, and undertakes socialization of our human rights and equality policies among our workforce and communities.

As part of its work program, the Gender Committee routinely visits workers’ houses and schools to collect information about any sexual harassment or assault cases. An external provider has been engaged to train committee members in the appropriate handling of cases involving sexual harassment and sexual assault.

We started standardizing our disciplinary and termination systems, including the application of sanctions and warnings, to ensure they incorporate proper appeal procedures and clearly defined roles. We are also developing an integrated investigation process to guarantee the objectivity of any disciplinary decision resulting in sanctions.

Equal opportunities

Musim Mas has policies in place to ensure that workers are employed and promoted based on their competency, capability and experience regardless of race, nationality, religion, age or union affiliation. We treat all employees equally and reward them fairly based on merit. Out of almost 22,000 staff and workers employed across our plantations and mills, women account for 25% and 28% of our total staff and workers respectively.

We provide housing facilities to the heads of families as identified in their registered Family Cards 1 . Historically, mill and estate workers were predominantly men due to the manual nature of oil palm cultivation and processing, and standard practice has always been to provide the housing facility under the husband’s name. However, as more women have joined our workforce in recent years, we have changed our policy so it can be implemented regardless of gender. We now provide housing facilities to women who are registered as the head of family.

1 Family cards are official documents required by the government office to prove residency and family relationships.

Wages, benefits, working hours and conditions

Minimum wages in Indonesia are set by provincial authorities. We pay fair wages to all Musim Mas employees, and our salaries are adjusted in line with inflation and minimum wage requirements. We keep records of all remuneration and claims paid to employees. They are equipped with the necessary knowledge through trainings and socialization in health and safety, certification, policy and collective bargaining. We also provide work-talent training by investing in capacity building and technical skills development programs.

Musim Mas provides workers with free facilities such as housing (including electricity and water), education and transport. Based on a survey of living standards and market prices conducted in conjunction with the workers union, the combination of our wages and the facilities provided has a much higher value – approximately 70% – than the minimum living wages set by local governments. We ensure that parental leave and retirement provisions are adequately provided according to national law, and workers are insured for work-related risks and hazards including disability and invalidity due to occupational hazards.

All time and payroll records accurately, reliably and transparently reflect all hours and days worked. We also educate our workers on the hazard of overtime practices. We cap overtime at 14 hours a week and three hours a day, with meals. All overtime is paid according to regulations.

We are in constant dialogue with union representatives and government bodies over working hours in the palm oil industry and are working towards creating a better policy catered to the type and variety of work available on our plantations.

Access to clean water can be limited in some parts of Indonesia. Many people face water shortages due to unequal distribution and inefficient usage. We have introduced a water rationing system to ensure a constant supply of free, clean water to all worker households. We also consistently socialize our workers and residents in surrounding housing areas to promote the efficient use of water and reduce wastage.

Temporary workers

We respect the rights of all contract, temporary and migrant workers, regardless of gender. Our temporary or contract workers have stayed constant at around 5% of all workers over the past few years.

Some workers may prefer temporary work to full-time employment due to childcare or other domestic responsibilities. To allow a certain degree of flexibility, and prevent any misuse of the dispensation to use helpers during peak periods (for instance, where spouses would unofficially accompany their husbands into the field to work), we have initiated a process to formalize the employment status of temporary workers by providing short-term employment contracts and insurance. These workers are then eligible to be recruited as permanent workers. This mechanism ensures that all workers’ efforts are formally recognized, and women are empowered through a direct source of income.

Freedom of unions and collective bargaining

We respect the rights of all workers regardless of employment status to join workers unions. About 80% of our workers belong to several workers unions. Our collective labor agreement is in line with government regulations and has been registered with the local Manpower office. This agreement is valid for all employees, whether unionized or not. Members are free to meet during working hours to discuss any issues without the presence of management representatives.

The Group’s management and the workers’ union maintain a positive relationship and meet regularly to discuss matters of concern to members, such as overtime and compensation, working hour policies based on type and variety of work available, work-life balance and menstruation leave.

Worker complaints and access to grievance mechanisms

All workers have access to a transparent and accountable grievance mechanism without fear of reprisal or dismissal.

Our internal, site-level grievance procedure has been socialized to our workers and we regularly post reminders about the system on public boards. Employees can raise complaints through suggestion boxes located around our operations, through grievance logbooks at administrative offices, over the phone to Public Affairs Department (Hubungan Masyarakat), or through the worker union. Complaints filed with supervisors are escalated to mill managers and all grievances are either processed within a week or are raised in regular management meetings for discussion and resolution.

For more information on our grievance mechanism, refer to here.

Occupational Health and Safety

We provide a safe and healthy workplace for all our employees. Our occupational safety and health (OSH) policy complies with national laws and regulations, as well as ILO guidelines. Group-level senior management oversees and reviews the performance of the OSH management system, including performance goals and continuous improvement programs.

A committee responsible for Safety, Health and Environmental Quality is set up at each operation to enforce the protocols and standards for safety. They are responsible for identifying potential hazards and ensuring the availability and optimal condition of safety equipment. They meet quarterly to discuss safety issues and concerns, and meeting outcomes are reported to the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower. The committee is chaired by the highest-ranking person responsible for the safety of company personnel.

Safety is everybody’s responsibility. We conduct regular training and safety drills, including basic safety training, first aid and emergency response procedures, fire-fighting drills and socialization of material data safety sheet for chemicals. We also inculcate the habit of donning adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, helmets, boots, masks and safety clothing. We have built safety criteria into our employees’ personal performance evaluations.

There are many clinics and first aid kits strategically located across our plantations to ensure immediate medical attention. Workers who handle herbicides and pesticides are provided with monthly medical check-ups. We maintain records on illnesses, which are summarized in monthly reports, and dominant health issues are analyzed so that action plans can be prepared to limit their occurrence or prevent their spreading. Information on health issues is socialized among all workers as a preventive measure.

As a result, the total number of accidents reported in our operations has been decreasing year on year (refer to our Sustainability Report for details). We are constantly working on reducing accident severity, as well as ensuring that all workers are adequately prepared and equipped for higher-risk activities.

Musim Mas takes employee fatalities extremely seriously. We investigate every fatal incident and take appropriate measures to eliminate such accidents from our workplaces. Procedures and risk assessments are reviewed and revised where necessary, to minimize these occupational risks and hazards. We also reinforce supervision and safety management with intensive trainings to promote greater awareness amongst employees throughout our operations.

Despite significant economic progress over the last 15 years, the World Bank estimates that there are still 28 million people living below the poverty line in Indonesia. Palm oil production is a powerful engine for rural development and has the potential to raise millions out of poverty. The livelihoods of around 50 million Indonesians, either directly or indirectly, depend on palm oil and its derivatives through multiplier effects that the sector has created. The sector brings in huge revenues and also helps to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth in the country.

Musim Mas is a socially responsible company and we support communities in the fight against poverty. This means providing jobs, basic amenities, medical services and education. By building long-term partnerships with communities and civil society organizations, we address issues that are important to the communities where we operate. At every point of contact, we respect and uphold all human rights, including the rights of indigenous and local communities, families, and other tenure holders.

Land and Community Rights

We fully recognize and uphold the rights of local communities, and in particular indigenous landowners, to determine the use of their land. We do not pursue developments or expansion without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). All negotiations concerning compensation for lost benefits and/or the relinquishing of rights are conducted in a noncoercive manner and are agreed upon voluntarily by the communities.

We adhere to the RSPO New Planting Procedure (NPP) and undertake a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) to review the social conditions of local and surrounding communities in relation to any new development. Management and monitoring plans are subsequently developed and implemented.

Musim Mas socializes the proposed plan among local communities and all relevant information is shared openly, including impact assessments, proposed benefits and legal arrangements. We respond constructively and promptly to requests for information from all stakeholders. All interactions are conducted though open and transparent channels of communication, and consultation is facilitated between growers and/or millers and local communities. We discuss potential community development projects with village heads and villagers and report on their progress. All negotiations concerning compensation for loss of legal or customary rights, or other complaints and grievances, are documented in full.


At Musim Mas, we believe that education is the key to economic development and better livelihoods. We provide free education for all employees´ children and have built and funded schools within our plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Rated as top schools in each respective region, our schools provide kindergarten and elementary education to children of Musim Mas employees, as well as those from the surrounding communities.

Beyond basic education, all students have access to computer classes and extra-curricular activities such as sport, music and leadership development. Through Anwar Karim Foundation, we have provided scholarships for underprivileged elementary students in support of equal education opportunities. With Gerakan Nasional Orang Tua Asuh (GNOTA), Musim Mas also annually provides uniforms and books to students living in the communities surrounding our plantations.

We also provide free transport for older students who wish to continue their education at local secondary schools.

Community Health and Food Security

Musim Mas provides free health care to all workers and local communities through medical centers situated across all our operational sites.

The service includes medical check-ups and routine vaccinations for infants. Supported by the Anwar Karim Foundation, free public health screening programs have also been established through polyclinics in Medan and Surabaya. All employees and community members have access to the national health insurance as all medical centers partner with Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial (BPJS) Kesehatan, the Indonesian Social Insurance Administration Organization.

At Musim Mas, we ensure that food security is maintained or strengthened at all our facilities, as well as through the programs we implement. Free food is provided to children under five through our integrated family planning service center, Pos Pelayanan Keluarga Berencana – Kesehatan Terpadu (Posyandu).

Health and nutrition training

Through our Indonesian Palm Oil Development for Smallholders program, we trialed a health and nutrition training initiative for women in Rantau Prapat.

We introduced the food pyramid illustrating the optimal proportions of each food group needed to achieve a balanced diet and the useful motto “Empat Sehat Lima Sempurna”, or “Four Healthy Five Perfect.” More than 1,000 women from Rantau Prapat have participated in the health and nutrition training, and many have adopted healthier practices. Musim Mas and IFC are looking to replicate this educational outreach program in other villages.

Securing land for gardens

To address malnutrition and vitamin deficiency, we provide all our plantation workers with land to cultivate fruit and vegetables. In addition, the houses we provide for workers include a designated plot of land for gardening. We also require community members that sell land to the company to confirm that they have retained enough land to meet their own needs.

Other Ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs

In addition to our community programs, we operate a long-standing outreach initiative through the Anwar Karim Foundation. Under the Foundation, Musim Mas has provided shelter for orphans and the elderly in Surabaya, contributing to the livelihoods of the underprivileged. The program also explores ways to ensure that children become literate and self-reliant individuals.

The Foundation supports the national efforts to tackle the impact of natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi (2018) by dispatching food and other necessities to the disaster-stricken areas.

Other community projects include the construction of wells, road repairs, free medical aid and financial assistance for local community projects. These create employment and increase income levels across the community.

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