Kenya: Member of Parliament drafts law to protect domestic workers
Posted by African Press International on August 15, 2016
MARY WAMBUI -1 | Jumatatu, Agosti 15, 2016
The plight of Kenyan domestic workers, especially those working abroad, is set to improve if a Bill seeking to register and regulate their employment terms and provide for their basic minimum rights becomes law.
The Domestic Workers Bill, 2016, sponsored by Kiambu Woman Representative Annah Nyokabi, was inspired by increased cases of families seeking assistance to have relatives, especially those working in the Middle East, brought back home after being mistreated by their employers.
Some have faced through sexual molestation, live in inhumane conditions, and, in the worst cases, some have been murdered.
Speaking to the Nation Sunday, Ms Nyokabi said the Bill will bring to an end the numerous reported cases of inhumane treatment and withholding of domestic workers’ passports employed abroad.
“It’s time we regulated this domestic work business as a way of ensuring the safety of Kenyans working abroad as well as curbing illegal export of domestic workers,” she said.
“I have helped families from different parts of Kiambu to bring back bodies of their loved ones who got killed by their employers and had their passports withheld.
“Recently, calls from distraught families in Mombasa, Western Kenya and Nakuru made me realise that [I needed] to come up with a way of ensuring that this issue is solved permanently through legislation,” Nyokabi said.
The Bill, once it becomes law, will, among other things, ensure that all domestic workers are entitled to a day’s rest every week, work in humane accommodation and get three meals in a day.
It will also ensure that the workers’ whereabouts are well-documented.
At the same time, agencies dealing with the employment of domestic workers will be registered by the Director of Employment or by any other officer designated by the director to carry out registration.
At the same time, those seeking employment abroad will only be allowed to work to work in countries where Kenya has established consulates and embassies.
The Bill also seeks to protect children from being employed as domestic workers.
This Bill will soon be tabled in parliament.
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