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Saturday, June 25, 2011

House helps pay hike

A gazette notice by the Ministry of Labor stipulates new regulations of minimum wages for house helps and has been backdated from 1st May 2011. In the major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu the minimum wage will be Kshs7586 and Kshs7000 for other counties.

Benefits include
House allowance of 15% of salary
2 days rest every week
Annual leave with full salary
Pension on retirement

Penalty for those who do not comply
6 months imprisonment or a Kshs50,000 fine.

I find this ridiculous and unaffordable to majority Kenyans. Many Kenyans earn very low salaries and can only afford to pay house helps from Kshs2000. Imagine that Kshs7000 is nett salary of some people employed even in offices and are just struggling to pay that person they leave with their children. Many especially in the slums who cannot afford to pay a house help leave their children in day-cares that are now on the rise due to high cost of living. Many Kenyans would wish to pay as much as they can to the house helps who they leave in charge of their kids but cannot afford to do so.

May question is how will they implement this, will they send officers to every household to enforce the law? This also contradicts the fact that Kenya is a free market economy, where willing buyer willing seller principal applies. Under this rule the buyer and seller agree on terms, so for that reason employer (buyer) and employee (seller) can agree on affordable salary. They can also have a written contract just like other jobs.

What are the consequences?

In the event the government manages to enforce this law on Kenyans (which I doubt). We will resort to live like people in America and Europe, we will take our children to Day Care centers and do our work ourselves or get help from relatives. As a result unemployment and crime will rise. The gainers will be Nursery schools and day cares and in fact it may be cheaper to pay a day care something like Kshs10,000/term than to pay house helps this Kshs7000 per month which is like Kshs21,000 for three months. Some are even cheaper depending on where someone lives, people who live in the slums pay 50/pay. So some other middle class estates can charge minimum 100/day which is much cheaper than paying a house help under the new salary scale.

To implement the ministry of labor will need to hire more officers to move from house to house and arrest those who don’t comply. We all know what that will lead to, more corruption. They will threaten people and ask for bribes. Majority of Kenyans are faced with numerous financial difficulties due to luck of jobs, low salaries, high cost of living and it is a fact we are still in the 3rd World, so unless the Government will force all employers to increase salaries (if they will afford), this law is absurd in Kenya.

12 comments:

PKW said...

We should treat our house helps even better than we demand to be treated at our work places. Reason being we take care of our employers' money and other expectations, they (house helps) take care of our babies. And houses. You can't pay someone enough for being the mother of your children in your absence. I am very new mother, so am talking out of experience. And I now have a house help who also has financial needs and aspirations. If anything, she is in the same economy I am in!

Ksh 2,000/- per month? Seriously? No guilt?? Majority of people I know who are paying Ksh 3,000-4,000 a month can do much better.

I welcome the notice-too bad it can't be enforced, because 'house help supply' is still high, thanks to poverty in Kenya. Some day, maybe.

sirpatricks said...

PNN.
This is a good idea but the government sh'd enforce min wage for the domestic worker's employer or else its a pipe dream.How can someone earning 10k pay her house help 7500,minimum wages sh'd be enforced for everyone not just house helps alone.

nyambura muraya said...

Let's start with the ministry of labour. How much do they pay their workers? 7500 is rent for most workers in the formal sector in Nairobi. Will they pay rent or pay househelps? It might seem reasonable to say if a domestic worker is not living in one should pay them 7500 but one living in? That's not going to work in the foreseeable future. All of us want to pay our househelps more but we are also constrained financially.

Anonymous said...

That is impossible. My employer does not pay my rent nither does he buy me food.For the househelp...i provide everything for her you name it food,shelter,medication,even the body lotion she uses is mine.Like for me i earn 14,000/-before tax. If i give her 7,500 i remain with 6,500. I have not paid rent,i have not bought food in the house,not paid electricity,not paid school fees and so on and the househelp is there in the house waiting to be fed,given a roof ontop of her head

Anonymous said...

Atwoli must be mad. Not unless we share the house expenses equally....that might work. Sharing as in she contributes in paying the house rent,buying food,paying electricity bills cause most of the time she is the one at home utilizing everything.

KING MSWATI said...

House helps should be paid better. but think of this Facts before Mr Atwoli and the Rest can comment

Currently even the house who earns Basically Ksh2000 earns more than the said share of 7000+ . Why?

Accommodation is provide for. Room with bedding and water, personal stuff e.g lotions etc and other utilities at the employers expense Daily Accommodation fee KSh. 250 X 30 days = 7500ksh

Food: Like the employer Breakfast, Lunch , supper, etc. Daily cost of Ksh200 X 30 days = 6000Ksh

Also, medication, misuse of home facilities like water, electricity , electronic, food stuff at the employer cost!

the Total is 2000 +7500 + 6000 = 15500 Kenya shillings.

Its so ridiculousness that the MR ATWOLI goes on proposing figures without considering currents facts.

Imagine, 80% of the house helps have no CVS to allow the earn that Money bearing in mind
1 they dont even have a certificate in Housekeeping

2 No knowledge on household chaos they have to be trained

3 all the liabilities they cause in the house during their work is all at the employers expense

GOD HAVE MERCY COZ EVEN THE GOOD THAT WE DO THEM IS NOT WORTHY MR ATWOLI REMARKS

Anonymous said...

Well, the minister or whoever is reponsible should come up with a formula of how my Ksh20,000/month is going to pay the 7000 for the house help, my house rent, school fees for my two children, food, electricity and so on.

Anonymous said...

This is good a idea, however the principle of buying and selling demands that i get value for my money. So if i have to pay 7,000 plus, i will need somebody with minimum qualifications in house keeping, baby care, first aid, good conduct, medical certificate and communication skills.

How is this going to be ensured?

cm said...

In my opinion, this new law only raises the stakes! If we are going to pay all this for a house help then its important that one gets value for money. How do you do this? Ensure that your house help is trained! They need to have had some training(even if its basic) in cooking, childcare and housekeeping. It would be ridiculous to pay all that money to someone who has no qualifications!
CM
http://tailormaidskenya.com/

EVERLYNE AMBANI said...

well ,WE HAVE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LIFE IN NAIROBI,SOME LIVE IN THEIR OWN HOMESTEADS OTHERS STILL RENTING HOUSES,SOME IN KILELESHWA OTHERS IN MATHARE,ATWOLI SHOULD CONSIDER AND SPECIFY WHO IS TO PAY THE 7,600 FOR HIM TO BE WITH JUSTICE. COULD HE RATE THE ESTATES AND SLUMS RIGHTLY?SOME ARE SELF EMPLOYED LIVING WITH RELATIVES WHO ARE ADOLESCENTS AND ORPHANED,HOW WILL I PAY THEM YET EVEN LIVING WITH THEM,THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT TAKEN THE INITIATIVE OF COMING IN TO ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERING.INCASE OF MISTREATMENT,THIS CAN BE REPORTED FOR ACTION TO THE AUTHORITIES CONCERNED BUT HOW I HOST THE PEOPLE WHO COME FOR MY RESCUE SHOULD NOT BE INTERFERED WITH ATWOLI OR ANY OTHER.

Anonymous said...

EVEN IN FAMILIES WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT,ONE CAN BUY LAND WHILE ANOTHER CAN AFFORD A PLASTIC BASIN, ACCEPT THAT WE ARE DIFFERENT,SIZES OF OUR HOUSES,FAMILIES AND PROPERTY PLUS HOUSEHOLD CHORES ARE DIFFERENT.SOME HAVE CARS THAT NEED WASHING,OTHERS NEW BORN BABIES,OTHERS OLDER CHILDREN OTHERS KITCHEN/FLOWER GARDENS TO BE WATERED,OTHERS STORY HOUSES,I SUGGEST, A WOMAN COULD HAVE TAKEN THIS DEBATE FOR HOUSE GIRLS,SHE COULD HAVE MADE VARIOUS CONSIDERATIONS.FOR HIS TO WORK,AMENDMENTS HAVE TO BE DONE TO TAKE CARE OF ALL OF US,THE EMPLOYER,AND EMPLOYEE AND EVEN NOT MIX THE GUARDIANS IN THE SAME.

Anonymous said...

Some househelps pretend&as soon as u Leave they shout at ur kids,watch TV the whole day,what penalties r there 4such?

Sociable

Carols

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