Proposed amendments to the Employment Act of 2007 could save fresh graduates thousands while looking for work.
The changes captured in the Employment Act Amendment Bill of 2019 would see graduates provide clearance certificates only after receiving a formal job offer from a prospective employer.
The papers envisaged include a clearance certificate from the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), a certificate of good conduct and a clearance certificate from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
A spot check by Kenyans.co.ke reveals that the cost of obtaining the HELB certificate is Ksh 1000, a CRB certificate will set you back Ksh 2,200 while a certificate of good conduct goes for Ksh 1,050.
Eager job seekers had been forced to scrap up the required Ksh 4,250 for the certificates before they could approach prospective employers.
The Bill, sponsored by Youth Representative, Gideon Keter aims to offer relief for job seekers unable to meet the costs of these documents and by consequence barred from applying for jobs.
In a report by the Standard on Monday, March 30, Gideon Keter, nominated Youth Representative and sponsor of the bill stated that the amendments aim to offer relief for job seekers unable to meet the costs of these documents and by consequence barred from applying for jobs.
"This will cure discrimination around recruitment by easing the burden on unemployed youths, mainly from poor backgrounds, who have to spend significant sums of money seeking employment,” stated Keter explaining the rationale behind the bill.
Keter further explained that the utility of the certificates was limited as it forced the youth to waste large sums of money on the documents without surety that they would get a job.
“If every time you are going to apply for a job and are told to provide unnecessary certificates, you will run into debt. People send CVs to different places with these certificates and end up wasting money because they remain jobless," explains Keter.
The certificates are used by employers to conduct background checks on employees to rule out the possibility of a criminal record.
Keter argued, however, that background checks are only necessary for parties with a contract, and not for those simply applying.
“Once a person is guaranteed employment, they can discuss with the employer on how they would present their certificates,” stated Keter.
According to the census data released on Friday, February 21 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 5,341,142 Kenyans were unemployed representing 38.9% of the population.
The data similarly indicated that the hardest hit were the youth as 90% of those aged 35 years and above were gainfully employed.