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STANDARD NEWS PAPER- DATED-19TH AUG,2008

STATE,EMPLOYERS CLASH OVER NEW LABOUR LAWS

FKE says new maternity and paternity rules will raise welfare costs because they would be required to hire replacement workers during the duration of leave and training them

19-08-2008

Parliament last year enacted new labour laws which were assented to by President Kibaki and published early this year. They are the Employment Act,Labour Institutions Act,labour Relations Act,Occupational Safety and Health Act,and work injury Benefits Acts.

They replaced six core labour laws: The Employment Act cap 226,The Regulation of wages and conditions of employment Act cap229,The Trade disputes Act cap 234,The Trade unions Act 233,workman's compensation Act cap236 and the factories and other places of work Act cap514. The intention was to review the laws and bring them into conformity with the current challenges and demands of national development and international standards.

The laws have sparked of a debate even before they are fully implemented,creating tension between the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU),Government and Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE)

AREAS OF CONCERN- Some of the areas concern include, compulsory insurance of all employees:three months maternity leave at the sole cost of employer,compulsory registration of emplyers for Occupational safety and Health Act and Work injury and Benefits,conversion of casual employment to monthly contract after one month.

Labour Minister John Munyes and Cotu Secretary General,Francis Atwoli have called for the implementation of the laws. But FKE has opposed the implementation of the laws citing costs implications.

CONTENTIOUS ISSUES BY FKE

  • Maternity leave which provides for a three-month rest in addition to annual leave for female employees- this means that unlike before,the employees shall not forfeit thier annual leave. This brings the total period fours months
  • The Act also introduces a paternity leave of 14 days- Employers say the maternity and paternity rules will raise welfare costs because  they would hire replacement

Cotu (k) supports the clause because the provisions is in line with ILO Convention No.183,Maternity Protection Convention 2000,that came into force in 2002


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