What The Kenya Labour Laws Say About Leave Days in Kenya
By Selipha Kihagi
Leave days are always a sensitive issue when it comes to both employees and employers, and if done wrong, they can be detrimental to the daily operations of an organization. When they are not honored as they should, this can cause an employee to lose motivation in their job or even bring up a suit against their employers, which directly impacts on the company’s bottom-line.
This is why employers in Kenya need to be fully aware of the law to avoid being caught off-guard.
So, how familiar are you with different leave days in Kenya?
According to the Kenyan Employment Act, employees are entitled to four types of leaves with each containing different directives that employers need to abide by. But while the provisions appear to favour employees on calling the shots, employers are also given power to some extent on deciding how and when the days are taken, and hence maintaining control over the daily operations of their business.
Without further ado, here are the leave days as provided for under the employment act;
1. Annual Leave days
When it comes to annual leave, any employee who has completed one year of service at an organization is entitled to 21 days of leave with full pay. How and when an employee takes their leave will be dependent on an agreement between the employee and employer. “An employer may, with the consent of the employee divide the minimum annual leave entitlement into different parts to be taken at different levels,” reads part of the act.
In the case there is no agreement on how to divide the days, employees have a right to ask and take two uninterrupted working weeks as part of their leave. And where an employee is terminated from the company before the one year is over, an employer should compensate the employee for every leave day that was not taken, as long as the employee worked for at least two months consecutively.
2. Sick Leave days
Employees who have worked with an employer for two consecutive months will be entitled to at least seven days of sick leave with full pay. Thereafter these employees will have a right to seven other days within a period of one year working, only this time the pay will be half.
There is however two clauses to this provision; an employee will be required to produce a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a qualified medical practitioner and the full pay will only be given to employees who notify their employers in reasonable time.
3. Maternity Leave days In Kenya
Most complaints against employers in Kenya are usually linked to unlawful termination and discrimination of pregnant employees, and this is why familiarizing with the particulars of the maternity leave provision is important. According to the employment act, a female employee is entitled to three months of maternity leave with full pay, after which they shall return to their positions or to a reasonably suitable job.
For entitlement to these rights, an employee will be required to give notice in writing of their intention to proceed to maternity seven days in advance. Also, a female employee who takes maternity leave will not be required to forfeit their annual leave as used to be the case.
4. Paternity Leave
This is the fourth type of leave days provided for under the Kenyan employment act and is meant to favour male employees who are expecting a child. According to the act, a male employee is entitled to two weeks leave with full pay.
While the Kenya labour laws only facilitate for the four types of leave days mentioned above, some organizations do have other types of leave days for the benefit of their employees, such as compassionate leave and study leave. Terms and conditions for these are not provided for under the Kenyan law and hence to be determined and agreed upon by both employee and employer.
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