Employers will be legally obligated to pay a Ksh500,000 fine or be jailed for one year, should they contact their employees past office hours if the new bill fronted in Parliament is approved.
Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2022, introduced by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, aims at promoting a healthy work-life balance by preventing the employer from interfering with an employee's free time.
According to Cherargei, the employer will be required to formulate a policy to explain circumstances in which they can contact employees during out-of-work hours.
The policy should be enforced after consultation with the respective employees.Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei addresses a congregation during a thanksgiving service and official opening & consecration of ACK Holy Trinity Church Kapsisiywa, St Paul's ACK Kaptel parish on January 22, 2023.Samson Cherargei
“Where an employer has more than ten employees, such employer shall, in formulating a policy, consult the respective employees or, where applicable, trade union," read part of the bill.
In addition, they are required to specify the nature of compensation for employees who work overtime.
The bill seeks to provide a right for employees to disconnect from work, and not engage in official duties during office hours.
"An employee shall not be reprimanded, punished, or subjected to disciplinary action if the employee disregards a work-related communication during out-of-work hours,” read part of the bill.
When an employer has no specific work-hour arrangement with the employee, the bill proposes that the latter is not obligated to respond when contacted. If so, they are entitled to get compensation.
“This Bill seeks to address increased employee burnout. Digital connectivity has also been noted to be slowly eroding employee leisure time, affecting their work-life balance.
"An employee has the right to keep their phone on or off if it is a personal phone. If the phone is an official one, then the employee is under obligation to use it as required by the enterprise.
"If the nature of the business requires shifts or extension of working hours to meet business demands, then such prescriptive nature will harm enterprises," the senator proposed in the bill," read part of the bill.
The senator initially proposed the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2021. This, however, failed to pass in Parliament.An image of a phone user inserting a pin on their mobile phone.File
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