NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – Kenya is set to block employers from calling or assigning duties to their employees after they have clocked out of work.
The new legislation dubbed ‘The Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2021’ is already at the Senate collecting views from stakeholders and members of the public.
The bill was authored by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.
“Where an employer contacts an employee during the period when there is no mutually agreed out of work hours, the employee shall not be obliged to respond,” the Bill reads in part.
According to the Bill, out of work hours are hours other than those agreed upon between an employer and an employee in the contract of employment.
Employers who are found culpable will be liable to a fine of Sh500, 000 or spend one year in Jail.
“This Bill seeks to address increased employee burnout. Digital connectivity has also been noted to be slowly eroding leisure time for employees hence affecting their work life balance. The principal object of the Bill is to provide for the right to disconnect in the digital age. The right of employees to have their personal time and privacy respected,” Cherargei said.
Under the Regulation of Wages (General) Order, subsidiary to the Regulations of Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Kenya’s general working hours are 52 per week.
However, the normal working hours usually consist of 45 hours of work per week, Monday to Friday 8 hours each, 5 hours on Saturday under the special Orders for different sectors subsidiary to the Regulations of Wages and Conditions of Employment Act.
Collective agreements may modify the working hours, but generally provide for weekly working hours of 40 up to 52 hours per week.
Every employee is entitled to at least one rest day in every period of seven days. In many sectors the regular rest-day may not be Sunday, but another day of the week under the current law.
Overtime shall be payable at the rates of one and one-half time hourly rate on weekdays, and at the rate of twice the basic hourly rate on Sundays and public holidays, the current law stipulates.