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As a Kenyan employee, do you understand the leaves you’re entitled to by the law? As a Kenyan employer, do you know what leaves you should be giving your employees?
Employee leave is the time employees take off work during normal working hours, which they are entitled to by the law or terms of the contract. While Kenyan law, specifically the Employee Act No. 11 of 2007, stipulates minimum leave days an employee is entitled to, an employer may decide to be more generous with the days. Additionally, employers may provide additional types of leave as part of their employee benefits.
It is also worth noting policy of leave may vary from one organization to the other. For instance, a leave may be paid or unpaid, or an employer may divide leave days into different intervals depending on the agreement.
As an employee, do you understand the leaves you’re entitled to by the law? As an employer, do you know what leaves you should be giving your employees? Let's find out.
Annual leave is Kenya's widely known type of leave under Section 28 of the above-outlined Act. Employees in Kenya are entitled to 21 annual leave days after one year of service to the employer with full pay.
So, how are leave days calculated in Kenya? It’s calculated as 1.75 working days per month for 12 months. While leave days should be taken as a whole, they can still be taken in bits spread across the years. However, such a decision depends on the agreement between an employer and an employee. For instance, an employee may decide to take a 5-day leave after every three months if the employer agrees to that.
Also, an employee may accumulate and carry forward annual leave days on prorate basis. In such a situation, an employer offers employees two weeks of uninterrupted leave. The remaining days are carried forward but not later than 18 months from the end of the leave earning period.
Note: Usually, annuals leave days don’t include weekly rest days, public holidays, or any other leave days stated by the law.
Section 29 of the above Act provides that every female employee of reproductive age is entitled to 3-month maternity leave with full pay, after which she has to return to her job. Employees should notify employers of their intention to proceed on maternity leave.
Then an employer must issue an employee an advance notice showing the day they are to proceed with maternity leave and when they should resume.
Clause 8 of this Section of the Employment Act also provides that male employees are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave with full pay. A male employee has to notify the employer about intentions to take leave within a reasonable time.
Note: Failure to give an employee maternity leave or dismissing them on the grounds of pregnancy amounts to discrimination, and the employee has the right to sue the employer on the grounds of discrimination.
According to Section 30 of the above Act, employees who have worked for their employees for two consecutive months are entitled to a sick leave of not less than seven days with full pay. After the seven days lapse, an employee is only entitled to 7 other days within 12 months but on half pay.
However, for an employee to obtain a sick leave, they must produce a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a duly qualified medical practitioner of a dispensary or medical aid centre.
Note: If an employee falls sick during the annual leave days, sick leave doesn’t apply.
Apart from what the Employment Act in Kenya provides, employers may give their employees other types of leave days. However, these are not mandatory leaves; thus, different companies/ employers administer them differently based on their policies. They include:
This kind of leave allows an employee to attend to their misfortunes which are usually not planned for and may occur at any time. Such situations include sickness, death, or accidents of relatives and friends.
Compassionate leave may be unpaid, and the days the employee gets may be deducted from the annual leave entitlement.
This is a kind of unpaid leave an employee requests from their employer. An employee wants to be absent from work for a certain period, especially when experiencing out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. How long employees take a leave of absence, among other terms, strictly depends on the employer’s internal policies.
It’s a special administrative leave issued to an employee by the employer. It aims to keep the employee from the workplace to allow room for an investigation into possible employment offenses involving an employee directly or indirectly. Ultimately it leads to the commencement of disciplinary proceedings.
Understanding how to manage leave days and employee time offs is crucial for employers to ensure that employees' time is taken into account and the business functions are well catered for when employees are on leave. Workpay provides an accurate and efficient leave and time off management solution for businesses of all kinds. Get in touch with the team here.
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