Work and Sickness

Sickness and Work and Wages in Kenya, Health and Labour Laws, Sickness and Payments and more on AfricaPay Kenya.

Who is responsible for healthcare when an employee is sick?

if an employee is sick, an employer shall provide proper healthcare for his/her employees during serious illness (Employment Act, section 34). The employer can only do this if the employee notifies the employer of their illness.

Is there health insurance in Kenya?

Yes. The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is the main provider of health insurance in Kenya. Its aim is to provide all Kenyans with access to quality and affordable health services. Membership is compulsory for all Kenyans above 18 years. The benefits package includes comprehensive medical coverage for all diseases (NHIF Act, section 22). This means that NHIF members can be fully treated at the cost of the NHIF without making additional payments. The benefits package includes comprehensive medical coverage for all diseases.

Some employers offer private medical insurance to their employees. This falls under the Employment Act, section 34 (4)(c), where medical treatment can be provided by any insurance scheme established under any written law which covers the employee.

Are employees entitled to get a salary if they fall sick?

An employee can get fully paid sick leave after a period of two consecutive months of service. This is according to both the Employment Act, section 30, and the Regulation of Wages Order, subsidiary to the Regulations of Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, section 12.

The Employment Act provides the minimum period of sick leave as seven days with full pay and seven days with half-pay for every twelve months. 

To qualify for sick leave, an employee must produce a certificate of incapacity to work signed by a qualified medical practitioner.

What happens if an employee is ill for a long time? Do they still get paid, and can they keep their job? 

It is considered unfair to terminate an employee on the basis of long illness (for instance, HIV and AIDS), according to the Under the Employment Act, section 46 (g). There is provision for an employee to obtain unpaid leave, after using their 45 days of paid sick leave.

Any employee who is ill should get permission from the relevant authority for absence from the workplace. Absence from duty without permission is actionable – this could result in termination, for example.

What happens if the illness is related to the employee’s job?

The employer must ensure that his/her employees get proper medicines during illness and (if procurable) medical attendance during serious illness. The employer is required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the illness of an employee is brought to his/her notice as soon as reasonably possible.

Further, under section 10, Work Injury Benefits Act, the employer must pay compensation to an employee who has sustained personal injury or death as a result of accidents sustained either out of or in the course of employment. An employer can take workmen’s compensation insurance to meet such claims.

What happens if the illness is related to the employee’s gender?

Kenyan law does not permit discrimination on the grounds of gender. Both women and men have the right to equal treatment, protection and equal benefits under the law. Thus an employer is required to give equal attention to his/her employee, irrespective of gender.

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