No Calls After Work: New Bill Sparks Debate

A new bill prohibiting employers from harassing their employees with work after office hours has sparked heated debate in the corporate field.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) accused the Senate of attempting to micromanage private businesses.

The Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was introduced by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.

Cherargei in the bill, wants to prohibit employers from interfering with employees’ personal time by limiting contact after hours.

The Bill is aimed at promoting a healthy work-life balance for employees.

It seeks to amend section 27 of the Employment Act, 2007 to include “the right to disconnect” for employees.

The bill also empowers workers to ignore work-related calls, messages, and emails during off-hours.

It is also urging employers to implement a policy outlining the circumstances under which they may contact employees during non-working hours and defining the nature of compensation for employees who work overtime.

“Where an employer has more than ten employees, such employer shall, in formulating a policy, consult the respective employees or, where applicable, trade union.”

“This Bill seeks to address increased employee burnout. Digital connectivity has also been noted to be slowly eroding leisure time for employees hence affecting their work-life balance,” Senator Cherargei.

In response to the proposal, FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo stated yesterday that the Bill would stymie the government’s goal of creating jobs for youth and women, as well as supporting the informal sector, because the operations of many businesses would be disrupted.

“An employee has the right to keep their phone on or off if it is a personal phone. If the phone is an official one, then the employee is under obligation to use it as required by the enterprise. If the nature of the business requires shifts or extension of working hours to meet business demands, then such prescriptive nature will kill enterprises,” it states.

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