Why You Cannot Fire Your House Help Without Notice
The Employment and Labour Relations Court recently held that it is unlawful to terminate the employment of a house help without giving notice and without paying terminal benefits and providing a certificate of service.
In the case, Moreen Muhani sued her employer for unlawful termination. Muhani had been earning a monthly salary of KES 3,000 (approx. USD 30) from February 2015 until December 2016 when she asked for a salary increment. This led to her being fired and she filed a case against her employer claiming that the termination was unlawful and that she should be compensated.
Presiding over the matter, Justice Nduma Nderi found in favour of Muhani and held that the termination of her employment was without cause and that her employer did not follow fair procedure.
The Judge also held that an employer must give an employee, including a house help, one month’s notice before terminating an employment contract, pay all applicable benefits and provide the employee with a certificate of service. Furthermore, the Judge affirmed that Muhani had been underpaid since the employer failed to pay her the minimum wage for a house help, which was KES 10,107 (approx. USD 100) at that time. The employer had also failed to register the house help with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Muhani was awarded a total of KES 270,964 (approx. USD 2,700) including interest from the time of judgment. The Court also ordered that she be issued with a certificate of service within 30 days.
This case is a reminder to employers; that domestic staff have the same rights as other workers and failure to follow the law on matters such as termination, payment of PAYE and NSSF/NHIF contributions can expose the employer to legal claims.
ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khannass@africalegalnetwork.com
ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khannarn@africalegalnetwork.com
The content of this alert is intended to be of general use only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific legal advice on any matter.