Providing house helps with free housing, food, medical and other support does not subject her to underpayment as their services are crucial to the provisions of the Employment Act. Section 31(1) of the Act provides that an employer shall provide reasonable housing for his or her employees either at or near, the place of employment who should also pay the employee money for rent, in addition to other statutory wages
Kenyan employers who get rid of their house help by simply asking them to pack and leave after paying their salary balance, except in the case where the house help is accused of gross misconduct could face a lawsuit as the employer must observe Section 41 of the Employment Act which establishes the procedure for handling cases of misconduct.
He or she must explain to the employee reasons for their sacking, who should invite a representative of the employee either a fellow employee or a union representative to be present during the explanation and should also listen to the employee’s side of the story.
Terminating the services of a house help on grounds that she is too old to serve is equally unlawful although the employment relationship is terminable by either party, provided the party initiating the move complies with the law.
Although most house helps engage verbally when they are getting hired, the contract is legally binding according to the Employment Act, as it confers the rights of the employee, which are enforcible by law.
“All employers should seek at the earliest opportunity to reduce oral contracts and instead put them in writing. This would help in spelling out terms and conditions of engagement between the two parties. It is also the duty of every employer to keep employee records,” observed a labour court Judge.