All businesses use employment law. It’s a branch of labour law that governs the employer-employee relationship. If the business has more than one employee who is engaged for more than 4 weeks, it must have a contract of employment.


This is an Act of Parliament to declare and define the fundamental rights of employees, to provide basic conditions of employment of employees, to regulate employment of children.

The law is meant to prevent discrimination and at the same time Promote health and safety at workplace

Salient features

The Act provides the basic terms applicable to all employment contracts at workplace. This includes:

General principles of prohibition against forced labour

Discrimination in employment

Sexual harassment (20 or more employees)

Employment relationship (nature and types of employment)

Rights of employees and obligations of employers

Employment separation (termination, resignation, dismissal, redundancy, retirement, death) and benefits upon termination

Protection of children from worst forms of child labour, minimum age of employment and prosecution for contravention

Insolvency, employment records and employment management

Dispute settlement procedure

Contract of employment

Employment contract for a period of three months must be in writing [s 9(i)]and the employer is responsible for drawing the contract and ensuring that the employee signify consent to the contract by signing his name or finger print in the presence of  a witness. Further, the employer is supposed to explain to employee the terms in a language understood by employee

Critical in employment law is entitlement to annual leave, public holiday, sick leave and notice period. In the event there is Collective agreement the employer must include it in a contract of employment where applicable.

Foreign contracts

In the event an employee is to perform his duties outside kenya for a period of more than one month and currency of payment, additional payment and terms and condition on return.

Importance of employment law at workplace

With the promulgation of the Constitutional of Kenya 2010, and the elevation of the Employment & Labour Relations Court to the status of the High Court, litigation surrounding workplace rights has been on the spotlight. High-profile cases of sexual harassment have resulted companies being sued for huge number of damages. Women are openly coming out to speak of sexual harassment in the workplace. This points to the important role of Human Resource Managers in protecting workers' rights.

In addition to protecting employees from discriminatory practices and harassment, these laws cover hiring and firing, workplace safety, fair pay, family, and medical leave, and much more.


Article 41 of the Constitution of Kenya and the Labour Relations Act represents the foundation of Industrial Relations in Kenya. Collective bargaining Agreements stem from the labour Relations Act. The Act provides for efficient mechanism for which enhances employment relationship by encouraging parties to engage in good faith.

There is a provision for dispute management to ensure speedy and proportionate resolution of disputes. The Act provides that disputes lodged are resolved within 30 days. The law now discourages delays in dispute resolution.

A party seeking to call or participate in a strike must give a 7 days’ notice. The employer can go to court under certificate of urgency to prohibit the strike on grounds that the party calling for the strike has failed to follow due process or has refused to participate in conciliation process.

Freedom of association formation and dissolution of trade unions, essential services are among other provisions in the Act

Industrial relations

This refers to a relationship between the employer and the employee stemming from the Union- employer relationship. According to T.N Kapoor, Industrial Relations should be understood in the sense of labour management relationship.  “Industrial Relations and effective social dialogue are means to promote better wages and working conditions as well as peace and social justice”-ILO

Relevance to employers

Industrial Relations is relevant to employers in the sense that an engaged employee is a productive employee and therefore a profitable enterprise. When relationship between the employer and employee is good everything seems to flourish. Industrial Relations helps to foster good relations between the employer and the employee.

Role of FKE in Industrial Relations

FKE provides a forum for employers in promoting sound industrial relations and observance of fair labour practices. Further, FKE promotes Industrial harmony amongst its members by offering trainings and advisories.

Our major role is played through CBA negotiations and trade dispute resolution at shopfloor level. FKE promotes decent work agenda and social dialogue.