FKE applauds new domestic workers wage


Employers are impressed with the reviewed working conditions for domestic workers that includes a Sh7,586 basic salary.

However, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) said they had warned the government the review will be difficult to implement.

“We do support the new minimum wage. We alerted the government of the implications but nothing was done,” Executive director Jacqueline Mugo said.

She said most households are unable to afford the new minimum wages for house helps, hence, the regulation is will increase unemployment.

“We need to balance good payment and need to remain in employment,” Ms Mugo said.

FKE was part of delegates at the 100th Annual Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in mid June who adopted a set of international standards aimed at improving the working conditions of domestic workers globally.

The new ILO standards demand that domestic workers who babysit, care for the elderly, clean compounds and do other household chores must have the same basic labour rights as those available to other workers.

The rights include favourable working hours, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, information on terms and conditions of employment and respect for fundamental principles and rights including the right to bargain for wages.

The convention defines domestic work as work done in or for a household or households.

It says in part: “Domestic work continues to be undervalued and invisible and is mainly carried out by women and girls, many of whom are members of disadvantaged communities and who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination.”

Kenya, as a signatory to the convention, immediately adopted the regulations.

Labour Minister John Munyes doubled the salaries of domestic workers besides bringing in conditions that would cost employers of house helps more than four times what they pay today.

He set Sh7,586 as the minimum wage an employer can pay a resident domestic servant in Nairobi besides the mandatory weekly 48-hour break.

Employers who fail to grant the break pay Sh365 per day or an additional Sh3,000 a month.

On Friday, FKE said the convention will become operational a year after ratification.

They said the rights and interests of householders’ needs to be recognised in the new standards.

“Overall there was insufficient recognition of the unique nature of the employer and employment within the family and home,” FKE said in a statement read by Ms Mugo.

They said as employers, government and workers “we must review our existing national arrangements for domestic work and identify opportunities for reform-reviewing our intention or capacity for ratification.”

FKE further proposed a number of changes to Employment and Labour Relations Court Bill, 2011 including that the Industrial Court should not have criminal jurisdiction and that it should only handle civil cases.

The officials said a timeline of two years should be put as compensation for workers who are reinstated by courts.



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