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THE NEW LABOUR LAWS An Overview & Some Provisions-

Presented by:
Mark K. Bor, EBS Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Human Resource Development

At A Seminar and Press Conference on Responding to the Challenges of Fair and Ethical Trade Nairobi, Kenya: 23rd November, 2007

PART I AN OVERVIEW OF THE NEW LABOUR LAWS

Background and Introduction The review of the National Labour Laws has been a concern to both the Kenyan public and the Government for a long time. It arose out of tremendous changes experienced in the local labour market; such as: Structural adjustments Liberalization of the economy Technological innovations

Overall Objective To ensure that the laws are responsive to contemporary economic and social changes. To achieve a new set of reformed updated labour legislation through a coordinated consultative process.

The Review Process In keeping with the tripartite tradition in our social dialogue and consultative machinery, a Task Force was appointed in May, 2001. It comprised representatives of Workers (COTU), Employers (FKE), the Government and experts in various fields. Its task was to comprehensively review and amend or repeal the following six (6) core labour statutes: 1) The Employment Act, Cap 226;
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2) The Regulation of Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Cap 229; 3) The Trade Unions Act, Cap 233; 4) The Trade Disputes Act, Cap 234; 5) The Factories and Other Places of Work Act, Cap 514; and The Workmens Compensation Act, Cap 236.

The Task Force repealed all the above six (6) pieces of legislation and came up with the following five (5) which have recently been enacted: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Employment Act, 2007 The Labour Relations Act, 2007 The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007 The Work Injury Benefits Act, 2007 The Labour Institutions Act, 2007

Each Act incorporates the principles of the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; thus ensuring the basic human values that are vital to our social and economic development. Support to the Review Process The Task Force drew considerable financial and technical support from the joint GOK/ILO legislative reform initiative with the objective of achieving for the country a new set of reformed updated laws through a coordinated consultative process.

PART II THE NEW LABOUR LAWS - SOME KEY PROVISIONS ______________________________________________

The Labour Institutions Act, 2007 Establishes and strengthens institutions which deal with labour administration and management of labour relations; such as the National Labour Board, the National Labour Court, Wages Councils and Employment Agencies The National Labour Court will be decentralized to the Districts and Provinces The Employment Act, 2007 Strengthens minimum terms and conditions of employment Prohibits forced and child labour, sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of disability, HIV/AIDS status, etc Provides for insurance scheme to benefit redundant employees Converts casual employment to term contract Raises age for definition of a child from 16 to 18 years. This harmonizes this definition with that in the Childrens Act Provides for 21 days annual leave for all employees; three(3) months maternity leave for female and 2 weeks paternity leave for male employees Safeguards workers dues in the event of employers insolvency Ensures that workers whose employers do not contribute to provident funds do not lose their benefits for years worked Migrant workers legally in Kenya will enjoy the same protection as indigenous workers

The Labour Relations Act, 2007 Promotes protection of freedom of association for both employees and employers Streamlines registration of workers and employers organizations Promotes democratic practice in lawful collective groups Asserts individual and collective group rights Streamlines pre-Industrial Court trade dispute resolution machinery and gives specific time-frames for dispute disposal Minimizes room for interference with workers right to go on strike by setting out clear guidelines on protected strikes and lock-outs Provides for Alternative Dispute Resolution machinery The Work Injury Benefits Act, 2007 Modernizes legislation and brings it up to date with the current circumstances and realities Eliminates the ambulance chasing phenomenon Extends insurance cover and ensures adequate compensation for injury and work-related diseases regardless of employers solvency National Labour Court arbitrates compensation disputes Disallows subsequent common law claims The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2007 Secures safety and health for people legally in all workplaces Prevents employment of children in workplaces where their safety and health is at risk Encourages entrepreneurs to set achievable safety targets for their enterprises Promotes reporting of work-place accidents, dangerous occurrences and ill health with a view to finding out their causes and preventing of similar occurrences in future Promotes creation of a safety culture at workplaces through education and training in occupational safety and health