The law does not exist in a vacuum; it exists solely to regulate human interaction within our societies. As society grows and populations diversify, the need to amend various laws arises to fit our changing needs. Our labour laws for instance are constantly being amended in order to reflect the demands of the current labour market and workforce. Amendments ensure the promotion and protection of both employers and employees’ rights. On 30th March 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Employment (Amendment) Act, 2021. One of three Employment Amendment Bills introduced in 2019 and the only one currently passed into law. This Act was operationalised on 15th April 2021 following its gazettement through Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 53. In this article we’ll look at some of the newly enacted labour and company laws related to your Human Resources.
- THE PRE-ADOPTIVE LEAVE
Section 29A has been introduced to the Employment Act. This Section provides that in the event that a child is placed in the continuous care of a person who is an employee under the Employment Act, that employee is entitled to 1-month pre-adoptive leave with full pay.
Previously, qualification for the pre-adoptive leave was based on sex and marital status. In addition, the leave period was 3 months for married female employees and two weeks for married male employees. With the new amendment, both male and female employees are entitled to 1-month pre-adoptive leave regardless of one’s marital status.
In order to apply for this leave, an employee is required to notify their employer in writing, their intention to place a child in their custody at least 14 days before the placement of the child. This notice to the employer must be accompanied by the relevant documents including a custody agreement and an existing certificate from a registered adoption society.
An employee who takes pre-adoptive leave has a right to return to the job they held prior to the leave. This amendment is a progressive move in Kenya’s employment laws with respect to adoption.
- HYBRID & VIRUTAL MEETINGS
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Business Amendment Act now enables both private and public companies to hold virtual and hybrid meetings where their previous articles did not allow them to do so.
- NSSF, NHIF & NITA PAYMENTS
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as well as the National Industrial Training Act have all been amended under the Amendment Act. The amendment harmonised the due date for the respective payroll deductions. Both the NHIF and NSSF deductions will now be due on the ninth day of every month while the Industrial Training contributions will be due on the ninth day of the month following the end of the financial year. The NSSF Act also now provides that in the event where a contribution has not been paid on or before the ninth day of the month, a five percent (5%) penalty of the respective contribution shall apply.
These amendments aim at increasing employer compliance with respect to payroll deductions.