Creating a good standard of living and a strong sense of community on the plantations is critical to attracting and retaining employees. REA encourages employees to bring their families to live on the plantation as this improves morale and creates a more balanced community. REA is conscious that living in a remote location can be challenging and encourages all staff to leave the plantation on a regular basis by taking long weekends in addition to their annual leave allowance.
REA’s policy is to provide all permanent employees who wish to live on the plantation with housing, equipped with electricity and potable water, for themselves and their families. Within each estate village there are essential amenities, including a clinic, school, church, mosque, shops and sports facilities.
In 2014 the group introduced two new initiatives designed to encourage employees to take more responsibility for maintaining pleasant living conditions in the estate villages and create a stronger sense of community. The inaugural ‘best estate village’ and ‘best house’ competition was a great success due to widespread and enthusiastic participation. It resulted in significant improvements in the appearance and cleanliness of the estate villages and a strongly fought contest. In September 2014, REA’s first neighbourhood watch team (Pam swakarsa) was formed in one of REAK’s estates, which currently comprises 15 women and 70 men. This team will receive training in basic security and firefighting and will initially focus on promoting cleanliness and safety in the estate villages, as well as assisting with special events such as sports competitions and other company celebrations. It is the intention that this initiative will be replicated in other estates in 2015.
REA has established a network of schools across its plantations which provide nursery, primary and secondary level education for children of its employees. As at December 2014, 118 secondary school, 1,765 primary school and 460 pre-school children were enrolled at these schools. In April 2014, REA received an award from the Kutai Kartanegara District leader in recognition of its contribution to education in the region.
REA operates a network of 18 clinics across its estates, which are manned by paramedics. The group also employs two doctors, a dentist and midwives. All permanent and casual employees are entitled to free consultations at these clinics. All permanent employees are also provided with health insurance, which covers in-patient and out-patient treatment off-site for themselves and their families.