8 Kenyan Labour Laws All Employees Must Know Know your Rights

There are 8 major laws that protect employees in Kenya in ensuring that they are treated fairly at their place of work. In this article, we will delve into those Laws so that as an employee you can be well conversant with your rights under the Kenyan Labour laws.

  1. The Constitution of Kenya

This is the major law in Kenya that protects the employees.

Article 27 provides for the right to equality and freedom from discrimination.  It states that Women and men have the right to equal treatment for instance the right to equal opportunities in economic and social spheres. In addition, Under Article 27 (4) the Constitution states that Employees shall not be discriminated against directly or indirectly on grounds of race, sex, pregnancy, language and many others.

Article 41 talks about Labour relations, whereby every person has a right to fair labour relations.

It states that every worker has the right to; Fair remuneration, reasonable working condition, to join or participate in a program of a trade union or to go on strike.

  1. The Employment Act, 2007

This act provides for among many other things the basic rights and duties in employment, employer-employee relationship and termination of employment.

Section 5 talks about Non-discrimination whereby any form of discrimination against an employee that is either direct or indirect has been prohibited.

Section 6 prohibits sexual harassment of employees by their employers.

Section 26 to Section 34 has listed down the Rights of Employment that employees are entitled to which include;

  • Basic minimum condition of employment which is favourable;
  • Annual leave of not less than 21 days with full pay.
  • Maternity leave
  • Sick leave

This act also stipulates in detail the Termination and Dismal of Employees and also states in detail the right procedure to be followed.

Section 35 states that every employee has the right to be given a Termination notice.

Section 36 states that every employee has a right to be given payment in lieu of notice.

Section 40 depicts Termination of employment on account of redundancy. I have a video on that here https://ruthtanuiadvocates.co.ke/kenyan-law-position-on-redundancy-amidst-covid-19/

Section 44 talks about summary dismissal whereby the employer terminates the service of an employee without giving notice or gives notice that is less than the time the employee is entitled to.

Section 45 talks about unfair termination, I have a detailed article on unfair termination here  https://ruthtanuiadvocates.co.ke/lost-your-job-unfairly-kenyan-labour-laws-on-unfair-termination/

The act also talks about salary reduction; I also have a video on the same here



  1. The Labour Relations Act, 2007

This act consolidates the law relating to trade unions, employer organizations and trade disputes.

It also provides registration, regulation, management of trade unions and employer organizations.

In addition, it safeguards the right of association, promotion of effective collective bargaining while ensuring social justice and economic development.

It is important to note that it has a constitutional basis which is Article 41 of the constitution which gives every employee the right to join and participate in a trade union which includes participating in strikes.

Further, there is also Article 36 of the Constitution which give every employee the freedom to join associations including joining, forming and participating in the activities of the association.

  1. The Labour Institution Act, 2007

It provides for the definitions for the contract of service, collective agreement, redundancy basically all the pertinent terms that are embedded within the Kenya Labour Laws.

It establishes various institutions’ like the National Labour Board, Labour Administration and inspection, a committee of inquiry and wages council and employment agencies which work to enhance the institution and establish the regulations that govern Kenya Labour relation.

It also provides for a framework for the establishment of government organs charged with administering labour laws and providing for their function, duties and powers.

It is important to note that, this only applies to all the workforce in Kenya except the army forces and the police.

  1. Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007

The core purpose of this act is to secure the safety, health and welfare of employees while at work including other people that are present at the workplace against risks to health and safety due to activities of employees at work.

It creates a legal framework whereby employers have to maintain healthy working conditions and the environment of their workers.

In addition, it also creates provisions to ensure the health and safety of all workers in the Kenyan workplaces.

  1. The Work Injury Benefits Act, 2007

It provides the international Labour Organization Convention compliant laws pertaining to employee compensation in the workplaces.

  1. The Industrial Court Act, 2011

This is the court that handles employment matters and has the same status as the high court of Kenya. It has the power to adjudicate cases of employment and labour relations.

  1. International Conventions and Treaties

Kenya is a member of the international labour organization and has gone ahead to ratify a number of important conventions that is related to the rights of all workers.

Kenya is a signatory to these conventions and therefore the Kenyan government is obligated to ensure the following employee rights are adhered to;

  1. The right to be free from forced labour including the right to be free from slavery and forced labour without pay.
  2. The right to form and join a trade union and participate in its activities.

In conclusion, this is a summary of Kenyan Labour laws all the employees in Kenya must be well conversant with to ensure their rights are not infringed.

As an employee, if you feel any of your rights have been infringed based on the above laws contact us through our email: info@ruthtanuiadvocates.co.ke or call/text 0738372354/0705399908.

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