KENYA: BILL TO GIVE EMPLOYEES THE ‘RIGHT TO DISCONNECT’ PASSED BY THE SENATE
Last year we published an article on the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2021(the 2021 Bill) on the employee’s right to disconnect. The 2021 Bill lapsed following the last general elections but was reintroduced on 30 November 2022, and published as the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (the “Bill”).
On 1 August 2023, the Senate passed the Bill without amendments to the National Assembly for consideration. Given the increased employee burnout, the Bill seeks to insert section 27A into the Employment Act. Generally, section 27A will require employers to set up a policy regarding:
- circumstances under which an employer may contact an employee during out-of-work hours;
- use of electronic devices to send or receive information, messages, or any digital work-related communication during out-of-work hours;
- circumstances under which the right to disconnect may be waived;
- specify the nature of compensation for employees who work during out-of-work hours.
Should the Bill be passed into law, employers would need to relook at their policies and employment contracts to ensure that they are aligned with the employees’ right to disconnect.