By Perminus Wainaina,
Section 27 of the Kenyan employment ACT 2007 provides that every employee should be entitled to at least one day of rest in every seven days.
The one rest day requirement in seven days is what leads us to this topic of discussion; Leave days in Kenya.
In addition to having some time off work just to relax, there are other circumstances which might force your employees to take some time off like maternity instances and sickness.
The labor law clearly highlights only three types of leaves that an employee in Kenya is entitled to which are;
- Annual Leave
According to section 28 of the Kenyan Employment Act, every employee is entitled to 21 annual leave days after every 12 consecutive months of service with full pay.
As an employer, you can divide these 21 leave days in intervals with the consent of your employee.
Also it is important to note that the labor laws of Kenya require that an employee takes their leave days on a voluntary basis.
- Sick Leave
Section 30 of the employment ACT highlights that an employee who has worked for you for 2 consecutive months is entitled to sick leave of not less than seven days with full pay.
Also they are entitled to sick leave of seven days with half pay, in each period of twelve consecutive months of service.
Won’t employees abuse this right then?
The ACT clearly highlights that for this sick leave to be valid, the employee has to produce a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a duly qualified medical practitioner or a person acting on the practitioner’s behalf in charge of a dispensary or medical aid center.
So a person won’t wake up one morning and decide that they are sick and won’t show up for work.
For an employee to be entitled to sick leave with full pay he/she has to notify you as the employer as soon as they feel sick and give reasons why they need to take the leave.
- The maternity /Paternity leave
Further, Section 29 of the ACT says that a female employee is entitled to 3 months maternity leave with full pay after which she also has a right to return to her job or with better terms than what she had before she left for the maternity leave.
Please note that annual leave does not substitute the maternity leave.
The employee is required to give you a seven day written notice in advance indicating the day they are to proceed for the maternity leave and when they are to resume work.
In cases of doubts, the female employee is also required by the law to produce a certificate as to her medical condition from a qualified medical practitioner or midwife.
Clause 8 of section 29 provides that male employees are as well entitled to two weeks paternity leave with full pay.
Other leaves not indicated in the employment ACT but being used by many organizations IN Kenya are;
- Compassionate leave
Compassionate leave in Kenya allows an employee to attend to his/her misfortunes which are usually not planned for and may occur at any point in time including death, sickness or accidents of relatives and friends.
So it’s generally up to your company’s policy to decide on which direction to approach the compassionate leave from.
2. Compulsory Leave
Compulsory leave is an administrative leave imposed on an employee by the employer normally to pave way for investigations into possible employment offences which may ultimately lead to commencement of disciplinary proceedings.
3. Leave of absence
Upon request, other employers in Kenya allow their employees to unpaid leave of absence from work for a period of time depending on the organization.
But as we said, all these are not outlined in the employment ACT 2007 so they are subject to different organizational decisions.
With this in mind,
It is important to note that leave days are an employee’s right and they are to be taken on a voluntary basis.
As an employer, it is important to keep yourself well informed about when and how to act when leave matters arises in your organization. You can only do this through keeping yourself informed about the labor laws in Kenya.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy and recruitment firm based in Westlands. He has wide experience in coaching, leadership development, recruitment, and HR consultancy.
For consultancy services, email firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: Please note that this is a paid service.