Country Information

Kenya is a country located in the eastern portion of the African continent, where its coastline runs along the Indian Ocean. Kenya is an English-speaking country, however, much of the population speaks Swahili, with various dialects native to certain regions. With a population of 52.57 million people, Kenya is the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture and tourism are the most prominent industries in Kenya. It has a state-run bank called the Central Bank of Kenya that is responsible for assisting with the development of Kenya’s credit and banking system. Additionally, Kenya is host to numerous commercial, merchant, and foreign banks.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Kenya can be either oral or written and for an indefinite or fixed term. A written contract is required for any work that exceeds three months and must be in the language of the employee. If the employee is illiterate, the contract must be explained to the employee in a language they understand.

Amendments to the employment contract including but not limited to leave and other benefits, payment methods and work location, must be in writing and provided to the employee within a month of the change. Employers are required to keep a copy of employee files for five years after termination. An employer is required to display a statement of the employee’s rights in a conspicuous place in the workplace that is accessible to all the employees. An employer is required to issue an itemized pay statement to the employee with their salary.

Working Hours

The standard work period varies by industry but is generally between 40 hours per week and no more than 52 hours per week over six days. Employees who work at night, can work up to 60 hours a week. Night-time work hours are from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Employees age 16 years or younger can work up to 36 hours a week.

Regular day time working hours and overtime hours together cannot exceed 116 hours over a two week period. Night-time working hours and overtime hours together cannot exceed 144 hours over a two week period. Overtime is paid at 150% of the basic rate on weekdays and at 200% of the basic rate on Sundays and public holidays. Employees receive one day of rest post 6 days of working. Those working on a rest day receive 200% of the basic rate. Employees who work on public holidays are entitled to 200% of the basic rate.

Sick Leave

Employees receive 14 days of paid sick leave per year, after two consecutive months of service. Employees must provide a medical certificate. The first seven days are fully paid if the employee has at least two months of service. The remaining days are paid at 50%.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive three months of fully paid maternity leave but must give seven days of notice. Employers can extend maternity leave. Male employees receive two weeks of paid paternity leave.


Bonuses in Kenya are common.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive 21 days of annual paid leave.

Public Holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labour Day
  • Idd ul-Fitr
  • Madaraka Day
  • Idd ul-Azha
  • Moi Day
  • Kenyatta Day
  • Diwali
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
Health Insurance Benefits

Private insurance generally is recommended.

Employment / Termination / Severance

An employment contract for an indefinite duration can be terminated by the employer or employee by providing notice as follows:

  • If the employee is paid daily, no notice period is required, and the contract will terminate at the end of the day the employee is dismissed or resigns
  • If the employee is paid at intervals less than one month (e.g., weekly or every two weeks), the contract will terminate at the end of the pay period following the pay period in which written notice is given
  • If the employee is paid monthly or in intervals longer than a month, the contract will terminate 28 days after the notice is given.

Employment contracts can provide for longer notice periods. The party terminating the contract can also provide pay in lieu of notice. An employer can waive the notice period when an employee resigns but must pay the employee any wages that would be earned during the notice period. Employers and employees can terminate an employment contract during the probation period by providing seven days of notice or payment in lieu of notice. The probation period cannot exceed six months but can be extended another six months if both the employer and employee agree.

Upon termination, employers must pay any remuneration owed to the employee. Monthly paid employees may be eligible to receive severance in an amount that should be fixed by the employment contract, but some exceptions apply. When the employment contract is terminated by dismissal of the employee, the employer has seven days to deliver a written report to a labor officer in the district in which the employee was working, specifying the circumstances leading to, and the reasons for, the dismissal and state the period of notice and the amount of wages in lieu of notice .An employer may summarily dismiss an employee with no notice or less notice than required for gross misconduct.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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