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Before hiring employees in Kenya, there are a few important things you’ll need to know. Firstly, in Kenya, the minimum notice period in Kenya depends on when wages are due, and can be as long as 28 days. It is also possible to give employees payment in lieu of notice.
In Kenya, normal working hours are 52 hours per week spread over six days. The amount of hours an employee works cannot exceed more than 116 hours in any two-week period. Overtime work is paid at either one and a half or two times an employee’s salary—depending on the circumstance.
We know this might sound overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. A solution like Oyster eliminates the barriers for you. With Oyster, you can automate compliance across 180+ countries, easily managing HR and payroll—all in one, easy-to-use platform.
Get an overview of what you need to know when hiring in Kenya below.
At a Glance
BANTU SWAHILI, ENGLISH
13th / 14th SALARY
Good to know
- Employers can only terminate an employment contract for just cause. Before terminating a contract for misconduct, performance, or physical incapacity to perform duties, the employer must first conduct a hearing.
- Employees in senior management positions are not usually entitled to premium overtime pay.
- Non-compete agreements are generally not considered enforceable by Kenyan courts. They can be enforced if they are deemed reasonable in scope; this is decided on a case-by-case basis. Offering post-employment compensation to employees for complying with non-compete agreements can make such agreements more legally enforceable.
Normal working hours are 52 hours per week spread over a period of six days. An employee in Kenya cannot exceed 116 working hours in any two-week period.
In Kenya, overtime work is paid at:
- One and a half times the normal hourly rate for time worked in excess of the normal number of hours per week; or
- Twice the normal hourly rate for time worked on the employee’s normal rest day or a public holiday
The probationary period for employees in Kenya is six months.
The minimum notice period in Kenya depends on when wages are due, and can be as long as 28 days. It is also possible to give payment in lieu of notice.
Non-compete agreements are generally not considered enforceable by courts in Kenya. They can be enforced if they are deemed reasonable in scope, which is decided on a case-by-case basis. Employers can offer post-employment compensation to employees for complying with the non-compete clause to make it more enforceable.
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Paid time off
In Kenya, employees who have worked for at least one full year are entitled to 21 days of paid annual leave.
Employees who have worked for at least two months are entitled to 14 days of sick leave in a year. The first seven days are paid at 100% of the regular pay rate and the remaining are paid at 50%.
Employees in Kenya must be able to provide a medical certificate to avail paid sick leave.
Employees are entitled to 91 days of fully paid maternity leave, given they offer a notice of at least seven days before taking leave.
Employees are also entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave.
In Kenya, an employer’s total social contributions total 6.5%. This includes 5% that goes towards the National Social Security Fund and 1.5% that goes to the National Housing Development Fund: Total deductions must not exceed KSh5,000 monthly.
In Kenya, the income tax breakdown is as follows:
For the first 288,000 Kenyan shilling (KES) earned: 10%
For the next 100,000 KES earned: 25%
Income level over 388,000 KES: 30%
Employees are also required to pay social security tax, which is 6% and a premium of 150- 1,700 KES, based on the employee’s monthly salary.
Termination of employment
Before terminating an employee contract for misconduct, performance, or physical incapacity to perform duties, the employer must first conduct a hearing. Terminations can only be carried out for just cause.
In Kenya, severance is only paid in cases of termination due to redundancy. In this case, the severance pay is equal to 15 days of wages for every year of employment.
Start hiring employees in
Setting up a business entity everywhere you want to hire a new employee isn’t scalable—it takes too long and the legal fees are high. At the same time, understanding and adhering to the local labor laws and employee expectations can be complex and time consuming. And it’s hard to find reliable information on up-to-date employment information for all the countries where you’re considering hiring. Not to mention tracking down invoices and managing employee contracts over email and spreadsheets—that gets messy fast.
We can’t afford to take risks when it comes to compliance—we need to make sure we follow the local guidelines, especially when it comes to taxes and legalities.
With Oyster, you can manage HR and payroll, and automate compliance across 180+ countries—all in one, easy-to-use platform.
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