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Kenyans enthusiastic about  bill prohibiting employers from calling workers after working hours

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By Judith Gicobi

The Employment Amendment Bill 2021, which proposes to offer employees the ability to reject calls from their employers during non-working hours, continues to evoke mixed views among Kenyans, with the majority of people in favor of the changes.

A cross-section of Kenyans who talked to a local daily ahead of the Bill’s resumption of debate on Wednesday afternoon encouraged lawmakers to move quickly to pass it, citing its importance.

“If I signed a contract and it clearly stipulated that my employer should not call past 5.00pm then the boss should not call,” Kelvin Mieso a Nairobi resident said.

The bill, proposed by Nandi Senator Samson Cherarkey, aims to address growing employee burnout and achieve a balance between work and personal life in order for digital technology to have a beneficial impact on workers’ standard of living, with employers’ assistance.

“This Bill will protect families because many times when husbands and wives received calls after working hours that tends to bring tension in the house. When at home let family time be preserved and respected,” Another Nairobi resident, John Ndungu, expressed his support for the Bill.

Cherarkey has characterized out-of-work hours in his modifications as ““hours other than the hours of work agreed upon between an employer and an employee in the contract of employment”.

Others, such as Ben Mutahi, have suggested that if there is an urgent situation and the employer want to engage, they should do so by email rather than calling.

Despite the fact that the option for disconnecting the call seems to be gaining traction among Kenyans, Cherarkey underlined in his modifications that essential employees will not be excused and will have to deal with their employers’ requests.

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If approved, an employer who violates its provisions will be guilty of an offense and face a fine of not more than Sh500, 000 or a prison term of not more than one year, or both, if convicted.

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