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Why employers are uncomfortable with paternity leave

Employers now say paternity leave is an expensive affair. They say the cost of doing business in Kenya has tremendously increased since its introduction.

The Federation of Kenya Employers also says the increased period of maternity leave from two to three months is a big concern to employers.

“The labour laws governing paternity and maternity leave in our view has increased the cost of doing business by 15 per cent,” FKE Executive Director Ms Jacqueline Mugo said in Nakuru Wednesday.

However, she said FKE was not entirely objecting to improvement of these benefits but their concerns was the impact on the total cost of employment in the country.

She said when the laws were passed by Parliament, there was no enough consultation on the issue.

“Essentially, we already have longer maternity and paternity leave for fathers of two weeks which is higher than most countries in the world including the developed countries,” she added.

Ms Mugo said FKE wrote a memorandum and sent it to the National Assembly’s Labour committee but their input were disregarded by parliament.


“The spirit of constitution is that there should be adequate and effective consultations before laws are passed but that was not the case for us,” she said.

The laws were revised in 2007.

Ms Mugo was speaking at Cathy Hotel in Nakuru Town during the 28th Annual General Meeting of FKE’s Rift Valley branch.

“All these costs are supposed to be borne by the employers because Kenya does not have a robust official protection system to pass on these costs to a scheme that is funded by the government,” she added.

FKE national chairman Mr Linus Gitahi, in a speech read on his behalf by Ms Mugo, said employers’ organizations represent a key asset in any society and that the federation will continue to create ideal conditions for enterprises to succeed.

During the AGM, Kenya Tea Growers Association chief executive Mr Apollo Kiarie was re-elected as the branch chairman and will be assisted by Mr John Warutumo of Cosmopolitan Sacco as vice chairman. Six other officials were elected to serve in the branch committee.