By Perminus Wainaina
A story of a young professional who paid his employer his monthly salary for resigning without notice is something that feels odd, while that of a house help who was awarded Ksh270,964 after unfair termination feels okay. What is the purpose of labour laws in Kenya? It protects your rights as an employee and reminds you of your obligations and responsibilities to your employer.
So, what are some of the labour laws that you should know as an employee?
Did you know that if you died today and nobody came forward to claim your wages or investments within 3 months, your employer hands over everything to the labour office or district commissioner? Now you know. So always make sure that your next of kin is updated. If you are married, it is advisable to your spouse as your next of kin. If you are single your parents or guardians will be your next of kin.
Give a notice before resigning: If you are under contract and you just quit your job without notice, this is illegal. You owe your employer for the notice period you would have served or period stipulated in your contract.
How do you determine your notice period? If you are paid weekly, yours is a seven-day notice period. If you are paid at the end of the month, ensure that you give a notice of not less than one month. For probation, your notice period is seven days to the date of your confirmation.
Most people assume that you can just leave and your employer will understand but I always advise that you serve your notice period no matter how toxic your work environment is and bad your boss is.
Another law you should know is that your employer can dismiss you without notice if you commit and act of gross misconduct. Acts such as violence, sexual harassment & misconduct, and excess use of alcohol or drugs at the workplace are instances of gross misconduct.
Absenting yourself from work without taking leave or neglecting your duties can also be classified as gross misconduct. Imagine if you were a boss and your employee comes to the office to sleep and gossip with colleagues, why won’t you fire them?
Some employers will give you warnings to allow for change but some are less forgiving. Ensure that you are at your best behavior at work and efficiently carry out your duties.
Finally, there is no law that stops your employer from sending you home on compulsory leave; suspension without pay, unpaid leave of absence or unpaid study leave. Most times compulsory leave is given pending an investigation and in rare cases, bankruptcy in a company. Remember what most employers resorted to when the Covid-19 pandemic hit?
To conclude, as an employee you need to know your rights like the palm of your hands. It helps when you are aware of labour laws that directly affect you because some of these laws can be unforgiving. It also guards you against employers who want to take advantage because of your lack of knowledge.N.B: Would you like us to consider you for a job opening? Boost your job search. Upload Your CV Here. It's FREE