20 things every female employee & employer in Kenya should know
11 months ago
As you all know, today is INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY. I will, therefore, take this opportunity to highlight key points that women in the workplace need to know.
- If you are an employer: – (i) conduct an audit of your employment documents and processes – from recruitment to separation (ii) no matter how small your business or organization is (a) issue employment contracts (b) keep records of working hours, leave, days off, overtime, performance discussions, misconduct and separation discussions (d) get HR and legal support – outsource these services if it doesn’t make sense to engage full-time staff (e) sort out KRA issues asap (f) deduct and remit statutory deductions – PAYE, NSSF, NHIF and HELB.
- It’s against the Constitution to discriminate on any grounds including sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, age, disability, or dress (Article 27(4) & (5)).
- Women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres (Article 27(3)).
- Employers are bound to promote equal opportunity in employment and to strive to eliminate discrimination in any employment policy or practice (Section 5(2) of the Employment Act).
- Employers are prohibited against direct or indirect discrimination against employees or potential employees in recruitment, training, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, termination of employment or other matters arising out of the employment (Section 5(2)(b) of the Employment Act).
- It’s not discrimination to take affirmative action measures consistent with the promotion of equality or the elimination of discrimination in the workplace (Section 5(3) of the Employment Act).
- Employees shall receive equal remuneration for work of equal value (Section 5(4) of the Employment Act).
- An employer with 20 or more employees is bound to have in place a sexual harassment policy (Section 6(2) of the Employment Act).
- Maternity leave – 3 months (plus annual leave which may be taken in the usual manner). On expiry of maternity leave, the employee has the right to return to the job which she held immediately prior to her maternity leave or to a reasonably suitable job on terms and conditions not less favourable than those which would have applied had she not been on maternity leave.
- There is no adoption leave in Kenya though there are proposals for its inclusion.
- There is no law prohibiting termination of an expectant female employee.
- Termination of employment on the ground of pregnancy or any reason connected with her pregnancy is unlawful (Section 46(a) of the Employment Act)
- There is no special leave on account of a sick child.
- You are under no obligation to undergo a pregnancy test prior to employment or to disclose your pregnancy at an interview – unless this is relevant to the inherent requirements of the job (right to privacy protected under Article 31(c) of the Constitution). It is also wrong to be subjected to questions about your intention to start or expand a family.
- There is an obligation on the employer to provide lactation rooms at workplaces (Section 71 of the Health Act).
- Read your contract carefully before signing it and seek clarification where necessary. Do not sign unless you understand.
- Be proactive (and wise) in your workplace in defending your rights. Raise concerns or grievances when they arise. Document vital verbal conversations.
- Give your DOMESTIC WORKER a simple contract (it will save you many headaches – thank me later).
- If you have a side hustle, check what your contract says about outside employment/engagement;
- Work hard and play hard – no one is indispensable so take care of yourself, your health and everything that matters to you.
Feel free to add more in the comment section.
The information on this website is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact a lawyer.
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