NEWS

FKE

Employers from both the private and public sector in the Western Region congregated in Kisumu to learn how best they could make their processes inclusive to facilitate employability of Persons with Disabilities. Through FKE Human Resource Forum, various partners including the Central Organization of Trade Unions Kenya ( COTU-K), the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), National Employment Authority (NEA), Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWDs) took participants through inclusive training. This covered inclusive language, provisions of the law and its implication for businesses, 

Dr. Margaret Oloo, the President Western Kenya Regional Branch urged the public and private sector employers in the region to honor the call to reserve 5% of jobs for disabled persons. 

FKE aims to create a safe space for employers to discuss, champion inclusion of Persons with Disabilities & develop inclusive processes because employment of persons with Disability makes business sense. “We are championing that Persons with Disability are employed on merit because it makes business sense. To achieve this, we must create a safe space for employers to discuss this and make their processes inclusive and accommodative.” Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo the Executive Director, FKE  

This is the time for workers and employers to come together and establish a pipeline of initiatives, interventions and dialogue that translates into the increased employment of persons with disabilities, she said.

COTU noted that in their collectively bargaining role, they factor in the conversation about responsible inclusion is integrated in the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA’s) to improve the working conditions of PWDs in employment. “Workers living with disability need to enjoy decent work as it should be, we are therefore working closely with our members to ensure that Persons with Disability gain meaningful employment.” Mrs. Dorcas, COTU- Kenya 

Since persons living with disabilities require a National Council Disabilities identification Card, Leonard Cheshire have supported partners to come up with PWDs Career Portal and are therefore working closely with Safaricom to ensure that candidates are able to access the portal offline. “PWDs are hardest hit hard with unemployment, we are therefore excited about the collaboration between FKE, COTU and NCPWD as it will be critical in unlocking the challenges that have hindered PWDS from accessing employment opportunities. “ Daniel Masyuki, Leonard Cheshire

The National Council of Persons with Disability developed a Career Portal to ensure that Kenya wins the battle towards enabling persons with disability to join the workforce. 

Our duty therefore as corporates is to leave no one behind, especially persons with disabilities who were disadvantaged even before the pandemic. Through the i2i project, the Federation has also held two similar capacity building forums with employers in Mombasa and Nairobi. This has facilitated the placement into employment for over 100 Persons with Disability.

Other stakeholders in this initiative include; Leonard Cheshire, Action Network for Disability (Andy) and CBM International.

 

Social Partners in a High - Level meeting organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) had the opportunity to consult on the proposed establishment of a Unemployment Insurance Fund. This will facilitate the protection of unemployed workers from the loss of livelihood even as they seek employment opportunities. According to the ILO, 38.6% of the global Labour force is covered by law and only 21.8% of unemployed workers receive unemployment benefits. 

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, led by the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Simon Chelugui and Principal Secretary Eng. Tum noted that proposal was geared towards Insuring employees against the risk of redundancy and give short time relief to workers when they lose their incomes, are on unpaid leave or when they fall ill and cannot work. The Ministry has put in place an inter - agency committee to map out what is happening in other jurisdictions and inform the proposals for Kenya.

Workers representative Mr. Nadome from the Central Organization of Trade Unions – Kenya expressed concern on burdening the already overburdened workers. He called for clarity in terms of reimbursement should employees never get to a point of using the funds in their lifetime. He noted that in operationalizing the fund we should consider Kenya’s unique situation as a highly informal sector. 

The Federation represented by the Executive Director Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo reiterated the need for solutions that support both workers and employers to bear the storm. This arises from the fact that the state of enterprises are still dire, due to restrictions posed by Ministry of Health. In her remarks noted the need for clear strategy “Together we must come up with a plan that takes into account all these realities.” she said. 

In as much as employers support the formation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, FKE proposes that the discussions be subjected to a wide and meaningful social dialogue for purposes of building consensus on the best structure and financing model to adopt.  

 Further to this, employers are concerned about the specific coverage and financing of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The Federation is aware that the proposed changes could increase the insurance rates and the overall cost of employment. On this note, FKE is keen to see that the Unemployment Insurance Fund does not lead to an increase in the cost of doing business and further reduce the ease of doing business. Mrs. Mugo also asked partners to think about how to strengthen the capacity of the National Employment Authority as provider of employment services closely linking it to active Labour Market policies

Moving forward, FKE proposes that a technical tripartite team is formed to do an in-depth discussion and examination and propose the best way forward. Any proposals must also consider and be predicated by the national realities on the ground and what best suits or works for and in Kenya. 

The Federation will seek members views on the structure and implementation of the Fund. Other participants during the deliberations include; Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Central Organization of Trade Unions- Kenya, National Social Security Fund, Safety and Health Secretariat and the International Labour Organization among others.

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