By Michelle Wanjiku
What do you know about taking leave? It is important that you are aware of all your rights when it comes to leave days. The Kenyan Employment Act is there to protect employees from being overworked or discriminated against.
When was the last time you went on leave? If you haven’t gone on leave in the last two years, are you aware that your employer is required to compensate you or carry the days forward which means you are entitled to more leave days?
According to the Kenyan Employment Act, employees are entitled to four types of leaves.
Here is a list of the leave days as provided for under the employment act;
1. Annual Leave days
Every employee is entitled to 21 leave days every year. How an employee takes the leave will be determined by an agreement between the employer and employee.
“An employer may, with the consent of the employee divide the minimum annual leave entitlement into different parts to be taken at different levels,” reads part of the act.
For those who are yet to have completed 1 year (12 months) of service, you can count one and three quarter days for every month you have worked as your leave days. For example if you have been working for 6 months, you are supposed to get around 10 days paid leave.
2. Sick Leave days
Unlike the common belief sick days should not be counted as part of your annual leave days. According to the Kenyan Employment Act , annual leave is offered in addition to any sick leave, public holidays or weekly rest days.
Employees who have worked with an employer for two consecutive months are entitled to at least seven days of sick leave with full pay. Thereafter, these employees will have a right to seven other days within a period of one year working, only this time the pay will be half.
However, there are two clauses to the provision; an employee has to produce a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a qualified medical practitioner and the full pay will only be given to employees who notify their employers in reasonable time.
3. Maternity Leave days In Kenya
Every woman is entitled to three months paid maternity leave according to the law. After which they shall return to their positions or to a reasonably suitable job. As an employee you are required to give at least seven days notice prior to proceeding to maternity leave in writing.
Sadly in Kenya most employees are fired or denied pay during their maternity leave it is therefore important that you familiarize yourself with what the law says about maternity leave and how it protects women from discrimination.
Maternity leave is also not counted as annual leave and as such one should not forfeit their annual leave.
4. Paternity Leave
Unlike their female counterparts, paternity leave is only entitled for two weeks with full pay. This law also only applies to male workers who are expecting a child.
Having leave days is a right protected by the constitution and therefore, in case of a breach you are entitled to sue the employer. However, some of the arrangements to be made on how you take the leave is a decision that should be made between employee and employer.
This will help avoid any issues in the future.