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MPs reject bill limiting post-work hours calls for employees


Created on :Mar 02, 2024

MPs reject bill limiting post-work hours calls for employees

The National Assembly has rejected the proposed Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2021, aimed at criminalizing employer-initiated phone calls to employees after working hours. Sponsored by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, the bill faced scrutiny from legislators who expressed concerns about its potential interference with the contractual relationship between employers and employees.

Legislators raised questions about the bill's legality and highlighted the possibility of introducing complications conflicting with Kenya's existing labor regulations. Cherargei argued that the bill was designed to address increasing cases of employee fatigue by granting them the freedom to disconnect from work, thereby striking a balance between professional and personal life.

The proposed legislation also aimed to create suitable work environments for employees, citing Section 27 of the Employment Act of 2007. Notably, it suggested that no disciplinary action should be taken against an employee who chooses to ignore calls after working hours. Additionally, employers violating this provision could face up to a year in prison and a Ksh.500,000 fine.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) opposed the bill, leading to its consideration by the National Assembly. During the second reading, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare questioned the bill's rationale. They argued that it sought to criminalize the employer-employee agreement and expressed particular objection to the proposed Ksh.500,000 fine for violators.

Ultimately, the rejection of the bill underscores the ongoing debate about establishing boundaries between work and personal life, with lawmakers and stakeholders grappling with the delicate balance between employee well-being and the needs of employers.




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