Ministry of Labour, FKE share reservations concerning the Employment (Amendment) Bill with Senate Committee
NAIROBI, 2 February – The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, through Cabinet Secretary Hon Simon Chelugui, has raised some reservations concerning the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2021. He, however, observed that some of its provisions “will aid in bridging the gap in current labour laws.”
The amendment Bill, sponsored by Sen Samson Cherarkey, seeks to provide employees with the right to disconnect from employers outside prescribed working hours in the digital age and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Hon Chelugui, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, presided by Ag. Chair Sen (Dr) Alice Milgo noted that the proposed Bill ought to have been subjected to due process as prescribed in the Labour Institutions Act, 2007 and be considered by the National Labour Board to fulfil the provision for tripartite engagement.
He further noted that the adoption of the Bill in its current form might lead to a plethora of disputes in the labour sector.
“The Bill, if adopted, will pose a challenge in fostering harmonious relationships. For instance, employees would be exposed to victimization and mistreatment at work whenever they disconnect,” Hon Chelugui observed.
Stephen Obiro, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) Head of Advocacy, appreciated the intention of the Bill, especially in light of the ‘new normal’ presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. He echoed the CS’s proposals calling for broader stakeholder engagement and more comprehensive amendments that factor a more extensive scope of matters labour.
Others at the meeting included- Sen Beatrice Kwamboka, Sen Paul Githiomi, Sen Naomi Shiyonga and PS, Labour Peter Tum.