New regulations setting the minimum wage for domestic workers have been published in what could make house-helps the preserve of a few rich households, if homes stick to the law.
The regulations set the minimum monthly salaries an employer can pay a domestic worker in every major town, compulsory weekly off days and overtime compensation.
Labour secretary Raychelle Omamo has in a legal notice granted domestic workers in Nairobi a 12 per cent pay increase, effectively pushing their monthly salary to Sh10,954 from Sh9,781 last year.
The workers are also allowed a mandatory weekly 48- hour break.
Failure to grant the break leaves the employer with the punitive option of paying the househelp at the rate of Sh527 per day or an additional Sh4,216 a month.
That, together with the basic salary of Sh10,954, means domestic workers who do not get two days off a week will earn not less than Sh15,170 a month – nearly matching the pay of many low-cadre workers in government and the private sector.
These rates also apply to those working in Kisumu and Mombasa while those in other urban centres will be required to pay Sh10,107 monthly.
Any employer found in breach of the new rules risks serving a jail term of three months or a fine of Sh50,000 or both.