Bad Employers Targeted in New Law

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta signs a bill into law in December 2020.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta signs a bill into law in December 2020.
    File
  • A new law that was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta will see bad employers punished heavily over unethical employment practices.

    According to the new Employment Amendment Act of 2019, employers who hold on to salaries or make unwarranted deductions will face a penalty of Ksh1 million.

    The penalty was raised from Ksh100,000 initially stated in the Employment Act of 2007. The amendment was meant to introduce fairly progressive labor practices in line with current global trends.

    The amended law invalidates non-compete contractual obligations that bar employees from working for local companies after leaving their employer. 

    An image of Nairobi job seekers waiting to hand in their applications to an employer in 2020
    An image of Nairobi job seekers waiting to hand in their applications to an employer in 2020.
    File

    In the event that an employee's contract has ended or they tender their resignation, they will only be required to protect privileged information that they accessed at their former employer's workplace for a "reasonable period". 

    The amended law further protects employees' rights in the event of the death of an employer, the new employer who comes in is mandated to effect them.

    According to the law, a business merger, transfer, or sale should not lead to spontaneous retrenchment or redundancy.

    Unlike in the previous law, the annual number of days for all employees on sick leave will now be 30 on full pay and 15 days on half pay regardless of the duration they have worked in the company.

    It also allows parents who apply for adoption of children to get a fully paid one-month pre-adoptive leave

    In the event that an employer expels an employee, they will now be required to provide him or her with a written statement citing reasons for the action.

     A sexual harassment policy has to be provided for workplaces with five staff members unlike the previous requirement of atleast 20 staff.

    Previously, the threshold for a sexual harassment policy was organizations with at least 20 employees. Employees will also bag a compulsory recompense of at least 15 days annually if a contract is terminated.

    Embu
    File Image of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kenya in Embu.
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