President Uhuru Kenyatta signed five parliamentary bills into law on the 4th of April 2022. One of them was The 2019 Employment (Amendment) Bill which was unanimously passed by parliament on November 10th, 2021. Additional bills signed by the President include the 2021 Copyright (Amendment) Bill, the 2020 Deposit Insurance (Amendment) Bill, and the 2022 Industrial Training (Amendment) Bill.
?The 2019 Employment (Amendment) Bill came as a silver lining to a dark cloud for job seekers in Kenya. Previously, employers demanded clearance certificates from job seekers. They required clearance from:
- Good conduct from the DCI
- Ethics and Corruption Commission (EACC)
- Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)
- Higher Loans Board (HELB)
- Credit Reference Bureau (CRB)
The new Employment Act requires that an employer will no longer ask job seekers for such documents until or unless an offer of employment is guaranteed. This comes as a reprieve to job seekers who had to battle for few jobs in a tough economy, yet are still required to pay exorbitant fees for these clearance certificates.
This Bill also addresses increased employee burnout and work-life balance. The bill states that an employer shall not contact an employee outside of the stipulated work hours of their contract unless for workplace emergencies. If the employee decides to respond, they are liable for compensation. However, if the employee doesn’t respond to out-of-office hours communication, they shouldn’t be punished.
Essential services providers are however excluded from the Act to ignore out-of-office hours communication.
?Kenya, like many other countries, is fighting the race to better labor laws and international best practices.
It’s now time for employers to take note and follow in line with these new regulations. Job seekers and employees should celebrate this milestone and use it wisely to their advantage.
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