Engage In Kenya

Table of Contents

About Kenya

Capital City

Nairobi

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Kenya is 55 million.

Currency

The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). The currency symbol is KSh.

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Overview

Kenya, located in East Africa, is a country renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and vibrant culture. Situated on the eastern coast of the African continent, Kenya boasts a diverse range of environments that make it a prime destination for adventure travel. From the pristine beaches along its southeastern coast to the scenic highlands, lake regions, and the iconic Mount Kenya, the country offers a captivating mix of natural wonders. Kenya’s geographic diversity is further highlighted by the Great Rift Valley, a geological marvel that stretches through the country. With its rich and varied ecosystems, Kenya is widely regarded as one of the world’s most famous safari destinations, attracting countless visitors eager to witness the majestic African wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses. Beyond its natural beauty, Kenya’s cultural heritage is equally captivating, with a long history of artistic expression and oral literature that reflects the values of determination and perseverance. Nairobi, the bustling capital, exemplifies the contrast between modern skyscrapers and impoverished shantytowns, serving as a melting pot of diverse ethnicities and providing a gateway to both urban attractions and nearby natural wonders.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Kenya's Employment Act requires employers to specify the nature of employment (permanent, temporary, or casual) in the notification of vacancy and labor agreements. Permanent employment contracts must be concluded in writing. 

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Kenya's labor code does not document the maximum duration (including renewals) of fixed-term contracts. They can be concluded for a fixed period or to complete a specific task.  The employer's responsibility is to ensure that the employee understands the conditions of a fixed-term contract and that it remains documented in any subsequent extensions or agreements. The law does not prohibit employers from hiring fixed-term employees for permanent jobs. 

Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to the Employment Act of Kenya, the type of employment must be clearly defined in the labor contract. Employees are considered to be casual if they are engaged to work for no longer than 24 hours at a time and are paid at the end of each day. However, if a casual employee works for a continuous period of more than a month or performs work that cannot be expected to be completed within 3 months, their contract is considered a fixed-term contract, and wages are paid monthly. 

Probationary Period

Probationary periods may not exceed 6 months unless the employer and the employee mutually agree to an extension (up to 6 months). A notice period of 7 days (or payment in lieu of notice for employers) is required to terminate an employee's contract by either party during the probation. 

Working Hours

In Kenya, the standard workweek cannot exceed 52 hours over six working days. For persons employed in night work, weekly working hours cannot go over 60. All employees are entitled to at least one day of rest for every seven workdays.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

January 1 (New Year’s Day); Good Friday (date variable); Easter (date variable); Easter Monday (date variable); May 1 (Labour Day); June 1 (Madaraka Day); Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) (lunar calendar); October 20 (Mashujaa Day, formerly Kenyatta Day); December 12 (Jamhuri Day); December 25 (Christmas Day); December 26 (Boxing Day).

Paid Annual Leave

Under Kenya’s Employment Act of 2007, all employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 days of annual leave for every 12 months of continuous service remunerated at the employee’s full, regular pay rate. Employees whose contracts of employment are terminated before they reach a period of 12 months of consecutive service accumulate annual leave based on the rate of 1.75 days of leave per month of continuous employment. Taking full maternity leave in a year forfeits an employee’s annual leave. The leave days carried forward to the next year may not exceed 10, which means that an employee must take a minimum of 11 days off from work in the same year if they want to get extra 10 days off in the latter year. If an employee is unable to utilize leave days because of an extra workload, the employer must provide remuneration for any unused leave days.

Sick Leave

Employees who have worked for the same employer for 2 continuous months become entitled to a minimum of 14 days' sick leave. The first 7 days are to be remunerated at a full pay rate and the remaining days at a half pay rate. Employees must present a valid certificate from a medical professional to claim sick leave.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 3 months of maternity leave with full pay. Upon agreement with their employer, they may extend their maternity leave beyond the allocated 3 months, should complications arise during or after childbirth. The employee must provide the employer with at least 7 days' written notice that states the start date of their maternity leave as well as the date of return to work. Employers are prohibited from dismissing employees on the grounds of pregnancy.

Paternity Leave

Male employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave fully paid by their employer.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

The labor law delineates the types of notices required for different employment contracts. The notice must be given in writing in all cases. Its duration can be increased by an agreement between employees and employers. There is also a provision for payment in lieu of notice, permitted for terminated contracts with wages paid in intervals over one month long. In this case, the employer must pay the terminated employee the amount they would have earned during the notice period before termination. Employers are not required to provide employees with a notice period if the employee is dismissed for gross misconduct.

Severance Benefits

Kenya's Employment Act of 2007 dictates that statutory severance benefit is paid only when an employee is dismissed for redundancy. This severance pay rate may not be less than 15 days' pay for each year of the employee's continuous service.

Social Security

Pension

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) of Kenya provides two types of old-age benefits: mandatory Pension Fund (for all employees) and Provident Fund (self-employed and retired persons, voluntary coverage for employees). Contributions are made by both employees and employers to the Pension Fund, in two tiers, depending on the level of earnings. To be eligible for old-age benefits, an employee must be 60 years of age, and the employment must cease properly and fairly. Early retirement is possible at the age of 50 years. The amount of pension depends on the total contributions paid to the Pension Fund and Provident Fund. The amount in the Pension Fund may be taken out as a lump sum or as an annuity. A social assistance old-age benefit of KES 2,000 per month is paid to citizens above 70 years of age living in poverty. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

Survivors benefit in Kenya is paid to dependents, including spouse, children under 25 years of age, or parents, grandparents, grandchildren of the deceased, if the person dies before retirement age and has made at least 36 contributions to the National Social Security Fund. The amount of pension depends on the contributions made to the Pension Fund. The amount in Provident Fund is paid as a lump sum to the survivors. A standard funeral grant is KES 10,000 (Kenyan shillings). If an employee dies as a result of an injury caused by a work-related accident, compensation is paid to the dependents, and the employer shall be responsible for the funeral expenses.

Invalidity Benefit

In order to qualify for an invalidity pension, an individual must be assessed with a total and permanent physical or mental disability and have paid at least 36 contributions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The amount of pension depends on the contributions made to the Pension Fund. The amount in Provident Fund is paid as a lump sum. If an individual becomes disabled as a result of a work-related injury or experience, they are entitled to benefits covered by the employer. In case of temporary disability, benefits are 50% of his/her monthly earnings (maximum KES 540) paid after three days of the individual’s date of the disability, up to 12 months. The maximum total temporary disability benefit is KES 240,000 (Kenyan shillings).   Individuals who have a total permanent disability are paid a lump sum of 96 months worth of their earnings, or the maximum benefit amount of KES 240,000, whichever amount is lower. Individuals who suffer from a partial permanent disability are entitled to a lump sum worth 60 months of their earnings or the maximum benefit of KES 240,000, whichever amount is lower.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

In Kenya, the year of assessment runs from January 1 through December 31. Both residents and non-residents are taxed only on their income earned or derived from within Kenya. Individuals are taxed based on graduated tax rates ranging from 10% to 35%. Residents are entitled to a personal relief of ​​​​​​ KES 28,800 per annum and an insurance relief of 15% of the premiums paid for self, spouse, or child (not exceeding KES 60,000 per annum). Non-residents are not eligible for personal tax relief. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

The following types of visa are issued in Kenya: Single journey visa – granted for single or multiple entries to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya. Transit visa – issued for periods not exceeding 3 days to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya and who intend to transit through Kenya to a different destination Diplomatic visa – issued for single or multiple entries to holders of Diplomatic passports who are on official duty  Courtesy (official) visa – issued to persons holding official or service passports on official duty and ordinary passport holders who are not entitled to a diplomatic visa but whose visit is considered to be desirable on the grounds of international courtesy East Africa tourist visa – a joint tourist visa that entitles holders to travel to and within the Republic of Kenya, Republic of Uganda, and the Republic of Rwanda. It is valid for 90 days and allows multiple entries.

Work Permit

All foreign citizens must be in possession of a work/resident permit or an exemption before accepting employment in Kenya. Categories of permits include: Class A – Miners or those prospecting for minerals Class B – Agriculture and animal breeding industry prospects Class C – Prescribed profession Class D – Employee offered employment Class F – Specific manufacturing (proof of investment is necessary) Class G – Investors in a specific trade, business, or consultancy (proof of investment is necessary) Class I – Work/residence permit for a missionary pre-approved by the Government of Kenya Class K – Residence permit for individuals at least 35 years old with foreign income who will not undertake paid employment in Kenya (proof of foreign income is necessary). Class M – Conventional refugees

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