Maternity Leave in Kenya: What You Need to Know

Children are a blessing and they are partly the reason some people wake up every day to make ends meet and provide for their families. When a working woman is expectant, there are a few things she should bear in mind and certain rights she is entitled to by her employer. In this article, we will highlight what the Kenyan Law says about expectant women and what you need to know about maternity leave. 

According to Section 29 of the Employment Act of 2007, a female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave on full pay if she gives not less than seven days written notice in advance, or a shorter period as may be reasonable in the circumstances, of her intention to proceed on maternity leave. A female employee who seeks to exercise her right to maternity leave shall, if required by the employer, produce a certificate as to her medical condition from a qualified medical practitioner or midwife.

The Employment Act requires that an employer has to ensure sufficient availability of proper medicines for a worker during illness and, if possible, medical attendance should also be provided during serious illness. The workers covered under the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act are entitled to medical benefits in the case of hospitalization. Pregnancy-specific benefits are not provided under the Act. 

The female employee is entitled to three months leave in addition to her regular annual leave. The law does not stipulate a limit on maternity but the bare minimum is three months unless the employer and employee agree otherwise. 

She is also entitled to sick leave if she happens to fall sick so long as the employer consents. Saturdays are however included. 

How about paternal leave? The law allows a male employee two weeks of paternity leave with full pay. This cannot be extended without a salary deduction.  

Hopefully, this clears everything up and has made you more knowledgeable on maternity leave. It is important to have a maternity agreement on your contract especially if you are married or you are thinking of children in the near future.