Employment Contract in Kenya: 7 Things To Look Out For
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By Selipha Kihagi
When was the last time you paid attention to the information in your employment contract? As a job seeker in Kenya, you may be too happy to get hired that looking through your employment contract appears a waste of time. Many people will only look at the salary details and if pleased, go ahead to sign without too much thought on the rest of the information. While this may appear innocent in the beginning, the impact of doing so will come to haunt you later.
You will want to call out your employer on a particular injustice but the contract you signed won’t let you. Taking leave for example; you may decide to accumulate your leave days so you can take them on a two weeks streak (as is provided for in the Employment Act), only for your employer to say no. Not because he or she is the worst boss, but because the employment contract you signed states otherwise. At this point you become helpless.
This and more is why you should always pay attention to the details of your contract.
Information Every Employment Contract in Kenya Should Have
1. Employee’s contact details and name of employer
The contract you sign should clearly state your name, age, permanent address, gender and any other contact information necessary. The contract should also include the name of the employer as an employment contract is between two entities; the employee and employer.
2. Your Start date, probation period and duration of contract
The employment contract you sign should have the actual date you commence working for the company and information on your required probation period. It should also state if and when you will be confirmed as a permanent employee and when the contract is to end.
According to the Kenya Employment Act, probation should not be more than 6 months but can go up to one year with the consent of the employee. This is why you should be keen on what your signature agrees to.
3. Place of work and responsibilities
Your employment contract should be clear on your duty station and other particulars related to your work. It should state if you will be required to travel from place to place and inform you of any transfers to come. Also, the duties and responsibilities for the role in question should be clearly stated. These duties are provided in detail in your job description, which should be part of the contract.
4. Remuneration details on the employment contract
Being that this is the section where most people pay attention to before signing the employment contract, be keen on the details included. According to Kenya’s Employment Act, every contract should provide information on the actual salary, method of calculating pay, any deductions to be made and other benefits such as insurance cover and allowances. Read more about what the Kenyan law says about salary here.
Also, it should be clear on when the salary will be paid and the method of payment. Will it be in cheque or bank transfer? Will you get paid every end month, beginning or every two weeks? So if your employer has not paid you in two months, refer back to your employment contract.
5. Working hours and leave days
Millenials today want to dictate the number of hours they work and most do not see the logic in clocking in at 8 and clocking out at 5. But even as this is the case, the employment contract should stipulate your expected working hours and if you will be required to work outside those hours. It should also clearly state your entitlement to leave days as well as information on how leave will be taken.
Remember to pay attention regarding the accruing of leave days as most companies will always mention this, with most referring you to company policy. It should also cover information on sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, as well as how the days will be calculated. If you work Saturdays, make sure to confirm if that is counted as a working day.
6. Termination of employment & disciplinary matters
This is the other key area when it comes to an employment contract in Kenya. To avoid any misunderstanding, the employment contract should be clear on the terms and conditions of termination. It should contain information on the notice period, grounds under which an employee can be terminated and pay entitlements thereafter.
The employment contract should also state clearly the disciplinary measures to be taken on an employee for any absenteeism or any breach of contract. Important to note though, disciplinary measures may not be provided for in the employment contract if a company has less than 50 employees.
7. Your employment contract should include information on changes
An employer is expected by law to document, in writing, any changes made regarding the employment contract you sign. The notifying of changes should be done not later than one month after the change is made. This particular information and other details on Company policy should be included in the employment contract you sign.
The employment contract covers the terms of your employment and by signing the document, you commit to every written word. So, to ensure you do not commit to something you wouldn’t be comfortable with, always read through the employment contract. And if you signed yours in a hurry, look back at what you agreed to so you are not taken by surprise at a later time.
Selipha is the Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading recruitment firm that offers free job placement and Career Advisory Services.