Gov’t in talks with employers on how to cushion workers against Covid-19 effects


Gov't in talks with employers on how to cushion workers against Covid-19 effects
Workers prepare preserved flowers and foliage at the Vermont Flowers export processing zone (EPZ) factory in Nairobi on March 10, 2011. thousands of workers in flower farms have lost their jobs and are at risk of being pushed into poverty, warned labour rights campaigners. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

In Summary

Some of the terms in the MoU signed include:
  • Government intervention, which entails financial and economic support for firms;
  • Safety and health at work place, which requires employers to provide adequate protective gear for workers.
  • Social dialogue which means employers and employees may agree on terms and conditions on work from home arrangements where possible.

The government is in talks with employers to develop measures aimed at mitigating the effects of Covid-19 on jobs.

Under an MoU signed between the Labour ministry, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and COTU, employers will retain workers as the government formulates measures to cushion employers against the effect of COVID-19.

“On my table right now I have over 250,000 requests from companies and this is what we are working on to reduce,” Labour CS Simon Chelugui said.

Over 200,000 formal jobs have so far been lost with more lined up for the chopping board.

To plug the bleeding, the ministry has struck a deal with the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and FKE that will see firms and companies retain employees during this trying period.

“Aside from the MoU what we want we are advising them that they should send their employees on leave for 45 days as opposed to 30 days and if the pandemic is still their, they can retain their employees on half pay because these are the same people who made them profits before,” CS Chelugui added.

The Labor ministry is also working with the National Treasury to provide funds to the companies for bailout post Covid-19.

The Ksh. 10billion, Chelugui says, will be available for micro, small and medium enterprises as well as backing up corporations seeking support from commercial lenders

“What we told them was that once the economy is opened up then they can get some sort of grand from us which will help them restart . It will be available from banks since they have a better disbursement method than us,” he told Citizen TV.

The government is planning to put in 80% of the seed money with the banks putting in 20% .

CS Chelugui said interest charged on the relief fund will be significantly lower that the market rate with better repayment methods.

Some of the terms in the MoU signed include government intervention, which entails financial and economic support for firms; safety and health at work place, which requires employers to provide adequate protective gear for workers.

There is also social dialogue which means employers and employees may agree on terms and conditions on work from home arrangements where possible.

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Story By Faizal Ahmed
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