Types of Leaves In Kenya
It is important for employers to understand what the law says about leave to ensure that the organisation’s leave policy is within the provision of the law (i.e. Employment Act, 2007). This article gives a summary of the types of leave in Kenya:
Annual Leave: Employees who have worked for a continuous period of 12 months are entitled to a minimum of 21 working days of annual leave per year (i.e. They earn a minimum of 1.75 days for every month worked) However, some organisations may provide additional days depending on their policies or collective bargaining agreements. Out of the 21 earned leave days, an employee is entitled to TWO uninterrupted working weeks of leave.
Sick Leave: An employee is entitled to a minimum of 7 days of sick leave on full pay and 7 days on half pay per year. Employees are required to inform the employer when they fall sick and application for sick leave should be accompanied by a doctor’s note. Employers can choose to provide additional sick leave days depending on their policies. If the employee’s illness or injury extends beyond their sick leave entitlement, they may be required to take annual leave or unpaid leave.
Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to a minimum of 3 months of maternity leave with full pay. The employee should give a notice period of 7 days. However, a shorter period as may be reasonable in the circumstances is acceptable.
Paternity Leave: Paternity leave is a type of leave granted to male employees who are new fathers or have recently become fathers. In Kenya, male employees are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave with full pay.
Pre-adoptive Leave: In 2021 an amendment was passed to cater to employees who wish to adopt children. The act states that an employee wishing to adopt a child shall be entitled to ONE MONTH’S pre-adoptive leave from the date of placement of the child with full pay.An employee should notify the employer in writing of the intention of the adoption society to place the child in the custody of the employee at least 14 days before the placement. The notice should be accompanied by documentation evidencing the intention of the adoption society to place the child in the custody of the employee, including a custody agreement between the employee and the adoption society and an exit certificate.
Compassionate Leave: Compassionate leave is a type of leave granted to employees who need to take time off work to attend to urgent or unexpected personal matters, such as a death in the family or a family member’s serious illness. It can range from a few days to a week or more, depending on company policy.
Study Leave: Study leave is granted to employees who wish to further their education. The purpose of study leave is to allow employees to improve their knowledge and skills, which can benefit both the employee and the employer in the long run. Study leave can range from a few weeks to several months or even years, depending on the nature of the study program and the employer’s policy.
Sabbatical Leave: This is where an employer grants special leave to employees to attend to personal matters e.g. a long-term health problem that may require more time than what is provided for within the leave policy etc. While providing such breaks, employers take into account both their business interests and the wellness of the employees.Some employers choose to pay full salary or a certain percentage of the salary during this period while for others the sabbatical leave is unpaid.
It is important to note that Compassionate, Sabbatical leave, and Study leave are not provisions of the Employment Act. They are however available in some organisations as guided by their policies.