Employ Candidates Compliantly in Kenya

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  1. Overview: Kenya
  2. Global PEO and payroll
  3. Global HR Compliance
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Expand without a company set up
  6. Contractor vs. employee: which is better?
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Global HR Compliance in Kenya

The knowledge, skills and experience of the specialists of Acumen International will become your competitive advantage. We provide the possibility of forecasting risks, indicate a map of day-to-day operations.

Using the services of Acumen International, you will be able to fully appreciate such advantages as: increasing the level of performance of non-core business processes, lack of capital costs for the organization of internal services, the possibility of reducing financial costs, and administrative costs.

The war for global talent has never been tougher. Attracting and keeping sought-after international employees requires knowledge. Whether your company is already engaging or planning to engage global workforce in Kenya, you need to trust that your operations are executed without flaw and without any unnecessary risks.

Businesses of all sizes face a devastating lack of information and support on global employment, taxation, and immigration in Kenya. There’s a common and significant gap between what’s required to be 100% compliant and what most organizations actually have at their disposal.

Acumen International can fill the gap in fragmented Global HR Compliance knowledge

We are experts in global workforce employment in Kenya, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

We act as an information service for corporate clients, agencies, and independent contractors and freelancers. Our Global HR Compliance service in Kenya will help you:

  1. Navigate legislation and local nuances of Kenya. You need to know what is acceptable and what can expose you to employment litigation as well as employee / independent contractor misclassification risk in Kenya.
  2. Avoid areas of possible risk. Certain areas and activities can create unnecessary risk, such as employer-employee relations. We can help you with worker classification, payroll and tax calculations, and social cost contributions.
  3. Handle currency exchanges and local invoicing in Kenya. We save you time and effort, freeing you from having to understand complicated regulations and tax calculations written in the local language and subject to frequent changes.
  4. Create employment contracts and handle compliant engagements. Our objective is to assist you with international HR compliance issues and offer you the best payment and taxation options in Kenya.
  5. Manage expatriate immigration and visa support nuances in Kenya. Acumen International provides information about the best scenarios of expat immigration and employment.
  6. Handle global recruitment issues. We can help you select the person and then employ him with our help. We advise you on local employment laws and implied compliance risks to determine the most cost-effective, compliant, and risk-free solution for you.
  7. Withdraw from the region in the least risky and most cost-effective way. If you choose to do so, we can help you withdraw from the region as simply as possible.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Kenya.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Kenya Guide

#Employment Agreements

Permanent employment contracts

In relation to the employment particulars that must be contained in a contract of service or an employment contract, the Employment Act provides that an employment contract must contain the following:

  • The name, age, permanent address, and sex of the employee;
  • The name of the employer;
  • The job description of the employment;
  • The date of commencement of the employment;
  • The form and duration of the contract;
  • The place of work;
  • The hours of work;
  • The remuneration, scale or rate of remuneration, the method of calculating that remuneration, and details of any other benefits;
  • The intervals at which remuneration is paid;
  • The date on which the employee’s period of continuous employment began, taking into account any employment with a previous employer that counts towards that period;
  • The duration of the contract;
  • Terms and conditions relating to entitlement to annual leave, including public holidays and holiday pay;
  • Terms relating to incapacity to work due to sickness or injury including provision for sick pay;
  • Pensions and pension schemes;
  • The length of notice required to terminate the contract of employment;
  • Any collective agreements that directly affect the terms and conditions of the employment;
  • Where the employee is required to work outside Kenya for a period of more than one (1) month;
  • The period for which that employee is to work outside Kenya;
  • The currency used for remuneration; and
  • Any benefits and any terms and conditions for the employee’s return to Kenya;
  • Disciplinary rules; the person to whom the employee may apply if dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision and for the purposes of seeking redress for any grievance relating to his or her employment should be specified.

Casual employment contracts

A casual employee refer to “a person the terms of whose engagement provide for his payment at the end of each day and who is not engaged for a longer period than twenty four hours at a time”. This means that a casual labourer is characterized by daily payment and a working period not longer than a day. Casual employment may be converted to a term contract under the Employment Act if the work has been continuous for a month, or the work performed by the casual worker cannot reasonably be expected to be completed within a period of three months. As far as dismissal and termination is concerned, a casual labourer may be dismissed or have their contract terminated at the close of any day without notice.

Fixed-term contracts

Kenyan labour Law allows hiring fixed term contract workers for tasks of permanent nature. No provisions could be located in the Employment Act on regulating the fixed term contracts (their maximum duration and renewals). If the contract is for a definite period of time then the term should be specified. If an employment contract specifies a fixed period of employment, usually three months and above, the contractual relationship is automatically terminated at the end of this period, without being considered a resignation or a dismissal.

#Employment Termination and Severance Pay (Dismissal)

Termination of employment can be done by the employee/resignation. This happens when an employee due to material breach of the contract by the employer decides to resign from his/her employment.

A contract of employment may be terminated at any time by an employer who must give the employee a period of notice of termination. Under the Employment law there are four grounds that may justify termination of the employment by the employer and these are:

  • Misconduct.
  • Physical incapacity.
  • Poor performance.
  • Employer’s operational requirements/retrenchment.

An employer may also terminate an employee due to participation in an illegal strike. Therefore for an employer to terminate an employee he/she should have a genuine. In event the employer wants to terminate an employee without allowing her/him to serve the notice period the employer will be required to pay the employee the amount that an employee would have received if she/he had worked during the notice period. Either party to a contract of employment may terminate the contract without notice if that party pays the other party a sum equal to the amount of remuneration which would have accrued to the worker during the period of the notice.

#It is prohibited to dismiss

The following do not constitute fair reasons for dismissal or for the imposition of a disciplinary penalty:

  • a female employee’s pregnancy, or any reason connected with her pregnancy;
  • the going on leave of an employee, or the proposal of an employee to take, any leave to which he was entitled under the law or a contract;
  • an employee’s membership or proposed membership of a trade union;
  • the participation or proposed participation of an employee in the activities of a trade union outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours;
  • an employee’s seeking of office as, or acting or having acted in the capacity of, an officer of a trade union or a workers’ representative;
  • an employee’s refusal or proposed refusal to join or withdraw from a trade union;
  • an employee’s race, colour, tribe, sex, religion, political opinion or affiliation, national extraction, nationality, social origin, marital status, HIV status or disability;
  • an employee’s initiation or proposed initiation of a complaint or other legal proceedings against his employer, except where the complaint is shown to be irresponsible and without foundation; or
  • an employee’s participation in a lawful strike.

#Notice period

Notice is required to be given by the party wishing to terminate an employment contract. A termination notice shall be in writing. In case the employee does not understand the notice, the employer is responsible to ensure that the notice is explained orally to the worker in a language he/she understands. If the employee is employed on a daily wage contract, the notice is given at the close of any day without notice.   If the employee is employed on a weekly pay or two-week basis the notice period shall be one week or two weeks respectively, given in writing or payment of one week’s salary in lieu of notice. If the employee is employed on a monthly basis the notice period shall be 28 days and in writing or payment of one month’s salary in lieu of notice. In the case where a contract of employment provides that the notice of termination be given for a greater period than one month, then there will be agreement in writing between employer and employee for a longer notice and the agreed notice period shall be of equal duration for both employer and the employee.

#Severance payment

There is no provision for severance pay in legislation for reasons other than redundancy. Redundancy means the loss of employment by involuntary means through no fault of a worker, involving termination of employment at the initiative of the employer, where the services of a worker are superfluous and the practices commonly known as abolition of office, job or occupation and loss of employment. Severance pay, paid by the employer, in Kenya is equivalent to 15 days basic wages for each completed year of employment. Employment Act also contains provisions relating to service pay. It is payable for each completed year of employment, in the case of termination by notice in certain circumstances and its terms are fixed in employment contract. A worker is not entitled to service pay if he/she is a member of Registered Pension Fund, gratuity or service pay scheme established under collective agreement, any other scheme provided by employer whose terms are more favorable.

#Probationary period

Employer has two options when employing new employee:

  • to either give a probationary contract
  • or give a normal contract with a probation period at the start.

According to Employment Act, Probationary contract is an employment contract of up to twelve months duration or part thereof. It must be written and expressly states that it is for a probationary period.  Probationary period should not be set higher than 6 months; however it can be extended to one year with the consent of a worker. The probationary period cannot exceed one year as an aggregate.


The law specifies normal number of working hours varied by industries. If an employee works in excess of normal hours per week as specified, the additional hours are treated as overtime. Overtime shall be paid at the rates of one and one-half time hourly rate on weekdays, and at the rate of twice the basic hourly rate on Sundays and public holidays. There are different Regulations of Wages Orders in force, covering different sectors of the economy.

#Work hours

The working week shall consist of not more than 52 hours of work spread over six days of the week and 1 whole rest day in the week. A person employed for night work may not work for more than 60 hours a week.  Persons under the age of 16 years may not work for more than six hours a day (or 36 hours a week). Collective agreements may modify the working hours, but generally provide for weekly working hours of 40 up to 52 hours per week

#Annual leave

The Employment Act provides for a minimum of twenty one days of paid annual leave for every twelve months of continuous service. Such leave may be taken at different intervals during the year.

#Sick leave

After two consecutive months of service, an employee is entitled to seven days of sick leave with full pay and thereafter seven days with half pay in each period of twelve consecutive months of service, subject to production of a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a qualified medical practitioner. The Regulation of Wages (General) Order (the General Wages Order) also provides for a maximum thirty days sick leave with full pay and fifteen days sick leave with half pay.

#Parental leave

the Employment Act provides for maternity leave of three months with full pay for female employees. On the expiry of the maternity period, the employee is entitled to return to the job she held immediately prior to the maternity leave or to a reasonably suitable job on terms and conditions no less favourable than those which would have applied had she not been on maternity leave. Before proceeding on maternity leave, the female employee is required to give at least seven days’ written notice in advance or a shorter period as may be reasonable in the circumstances of her intention to proceed on maternity leave on a specified date and to return to work thereafter. A male employee is entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave with full pay. The male employee is not required to give any notice of his intention to proceed on paternity leave. However, an employer may, for administrative purposes, require the employee to give such reasonable notice.

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