Table of Contents

Kenya

Table of Contents

Currency

Kenyan Shilling (KES)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

250 KES

About Kenya

Kenya is an East African nation positioned along the Indian Ocean and surrounded by Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Kenya shares part of Lake Victoria with Uganda and Tanzania, making that area a great port of East African trade and a thriving fishing harbor. The population density in Kenya is sparse in the eastern region and dense around the central region, urban centers, coastal areas as well as the western region around Lake Victoria. The county has 42 tribes, with the largest of them being Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, and Kalenjin. English and Kiswahili are the official languages and Christianity accounts for 83 percent of people’s practiced religion and Islam 11 percent. GDP growth in 2016 was 5.8% and was largely driven by services and industry, rather than by agriculture. Major economic sectors are real estate, transport, storage, construction, and manufacturing. Political uncertainties from the 2017 general elections, among other issues, may have caused a decline in the most recent growth rate to 5 percent.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Kenya's Employment Act requires employers to specify the nature of employment (permanent, temporary, or casual) in the notification of vacancy and labor agreements. Permanent employment contracts must be concluded in writing. 

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Kenya's labor code does not document the maximum duration (including renewals) of fixed-term contracts. They can be concluded for a fixed period or to complete a specific task.  The employer's responsibility is to ensure that the employee understands the conditions of a fixed-term contract and that it remains documented in any subsequent extensions or agreements. The law does not prohibit employers from hiring fixed-term employees for permanent jobs. 

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to the Employment Act of Kenya, the type of employment must be clearly defined in the labor contract. Employees are considered to be casual if they are engaged to work for no longer than 24 hours at a time and are paid at the end of each day. However, if a casual employee works for a continuous period of more than a month or performs work that cannot be expected to be completed within 3 months, their contract is considered a fixed-term contract, and wages are paid monthly. 

Probationary Period

Probationary periods may not exceed 6 months unless the employer and the employee mutually agree to an extension (up to 6 months). A notice period of 7 days (or payment in lieu of notice for employers) is required to terminate an employee's contract by either party during the probation. 

Working Hours

In Kenya, the standard workweek cannot exceed 52 hours over six working days. For persons employed in night work, weekly working hours cannot go over 60. All employees are entitled to at least one day of rest for every seven workdays.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

January 1 (New Year’s Day); Good Friday (date variable); Easter (date variable); Easter Monday (date variable); May 1 (Labour Day); June 1 (Madaraka Day); Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) (lunar calendar); October 20 (Mashujaa Day, formerly Kenyatta Day); December 12 (Jamhuri Day); December 25 (Christmas Day); December 26 (Boxing Day).

• Paid Annual Leave

Under Kenya’s Employment Act of 2007, all employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 days of annual leave for every 12 months of continuous service remunerated at the employee’s full, regular pay rate. Employees whose contracts of employment are terminated before they reach a period of 12 months of consecutive service accumulate annual leave based on the rate of 1.75 days of leave per month of continuous employment. Taking full maternity leave in a year forfeits an employee’s annual leave. The leave days carried forward to the next year may not exceed 10, which means that an employee must take a minimum of 11 days off from work in the same year if they want to get extra 10 days off in the latter year. If an employee is unable to utilize leave days because of an extra workload, the employer must provide remuneration for any unused leave days.

• Sick Leave

Employees who have worked for the same employer for 2 continuous months become entitled to a minimum of 14 days' sick leave. The first 7 days are to be remunerated at a full pay rate and the remaining days at a half pay rate. Employees must present a valid certificate from a medical professional to claim sick leave.

• Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 3 months of maternity leave with full pay. Upon agreement with their employer, they may extend their maternity leave beyond the allocated 3 months, should complications arise during or after childbirth. The employee must provide the employer with at least 7 days' written notice that states the start date of their maternity leave as well as the date of return to work. Employers are prohibited from dismissing employees on the grounds of pregnancy.

• Paternity Leave

Male employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave fully paid by their employer.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

The labor law delineates the types of notices required for different employment contracts. The notice must be given in writing in all cases. Its duration can be increased by an agreement between employees and employers. There is also a provision for payment in lieu of notice, permitted for terminated contracts with wages paid in intervals over one month long. In this case, the employer must pay the terminated employee the amount they would have earned during the notice period before termination. Employers are not required to provide employees with a notice period if the employee is dismissed for gross misconduct.

• Severance Benefits

Kenya's Employment Act of 2007 dictates that statutory severance benefit is paid only when an employee is dismissed for redundancy. This severance pay rate may not be less than 15 days' pay for each year of the employee's continuous service.