Guide to employment, payroll and benefits in


Rivermate offers complete payroll, benefits and compliance services for


01. Overview

Last updated: 

August 19, 2021

Kenyan Shilling
Ease of doing business
GDP growth

02. Grow your team in


with Rivermate

Payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance can be difficult to manage in


, particularly if you don't have established local relationships. You can hire employees in


effectively, conveniently, and in full compliance with all relevant labor laws using Rivermate's global employment solution. We handle the responsibilities and legal risks associated with foreign employment so you can concentrate on growing your company.

03. Summary

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is an East African country. Kenya is the world's 48th largest nation by total area, with 580,367 square kilometers. Kenya is the 29th most populous country in the world, with a population of over 47.6 million people according to the 2019 census. Nairobi is Kenya's capital and largest city, while Mombasa is the country's oldest city and first capital. Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya and also serves as an inland port on Lake Victoria. Nakuru and Eldoret are two other significant cities. Kenya, after Nigeria and South Africa, will be the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. Kenya is bordered on the northwest by South Sudan, on the north by Ethiopia, on the east by Somalia, on the west by Uganda, on the south by Tanzania, and on the southeast by the Indian Ocean. The Cushites first settled in Kenya's lowlands between 3,200 and 1,300 BC, according to archaeological dating of associated artifacts and skeletal material, a period known as the Lowland Savanna Pastoral Neolithic. Around 500 BC, pastoralists speaking Nilotic began migrating from present-day South Sudan to Kenya. Although successful colonisation of Kenya began in the 19th century during European exploration of the interior, European interaction began in 1500 with the Portuguese Empire. Kenya as we know it today arose from a British Empire protectorate created in 1895 and the subsequent Kenya Colony, which began in 1920. The Mau Mau revolt, which started in 1952 and ended in 1963, was sparked by a series of disagreements between the UK and the colony. Kenya remained a part of the Commonwealth of Nations after independence. The new constitution was adopted in 2010 to replace the one that had been in force since the country's independence in 1963. Kenya is a presidential parliamentary democratic republic in which the president is the head of state and government and elected officials serve the people. Kenya is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank, IMF, COMESA, the International Criminal Court, among other international organizations. Kenya is a lower-middle-income country with a GNI of 1,460. Kenya has the largest economy in eastern and central Africa, with Nairobi acting as a major regional commercial center. Agriculture is the main industry, with conventional cash crops such as tea and coffee, as well as a fast-growing export of fresh flowers. Tourism, in particular, is a significant economic factor in the service sector. Kenya is a member of the East African Community trade bloc, though it is classified as part of the Greater Horn of Africa by some foreign trade organizations. Kenya's top export market is Africa, followed by the European Union.

04. Public holidays

05. Types of leave

Paid time off

Within 12 months of work, an employee is entitled to a minimum of 21 days of paid regular leave.

Public holidays

There are 13 national holidays in Kenya. If a holiday comes on a Sunday, it is celebrated the next Monday.

Sick days

An employee is entitled to a total of 14 days of sick leave every 12 months. The first 7 days are billed at 100% of the normal wage, and the remaining 7 days are charged at 50%. The employee must have worked for at least two months to be considered for this leave. A medical credential must also be provided by the employee.

Maternity leave

Women are entitled to 91 days of paid maternity leave at 100% of their normal salary. To be considered, the woman must give her boss at least 7 days' notice before taking the leave and must be able to obtain a medical certificate.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave is compensated for two weeks for fathers.

Parental leave

When a married employee adopts a child, the same maternity and paternity leave laws apply; but, instead of 7 days' notice for the mother, the spouse must be granted 14 days' notice.

Other leave

Parents who are planning to adopt a child are entitled to a month of paid Pre-Adoptive leave. Parents must give their employer 14 days' notice and present the relevant adoption documents.

06. Employment termination

Termination process

When an employer considers terminating an employee for misconduct, poor performance, or physical incapacity to perform tasks, the company must first hold a hearing. The employee has the right to be represented at the hearing by a union representative or another employee.

A letter of termination with justification must be issued. When an employer initiates the termination of an employment agreement, the company is required to pay the employee's final earnings on the termination date.

If the employee has worked for the employer for more than four weeks, the employer is required to provide a certificate of employment upon the termination of the employment agreement.

Notice period

There is no need to give notice if the employee is paid on a daily basis. When an employee is paid on a monthly basis, either the employee or the employer must issue a 28-day written notice. Payment in lieu of notice is also a possibility.

Severance pay

There are no provisions in the law regarding severance pay except for when the reason for termination is redundancy. In this case, severance pay is 15 days of wages for every year of employment.

Probation period

The probation period in Kenya is 6 months. If the employer dismisses the employee during this time, 7 days’ notice or payment in lieu must be given.

07. Working hours


The standard work week varies by industry but is typically between 40 and 52 hours over six days. Night shift employees can work up to 60 hours per week. The night shift is from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Employees 16 years of age or younger are permitted to work up to 36 hours per week.


Overtime hours combined with regular daytime hours cannot exceed 116 hours in a two-week period. Overtime hours combined with nighttime work cannot exceed 144 hours in a two-week period. On weekdays, overtime is paid at 150 percent of the basic rate; on Sundays and public holidays, overtime is paid at 200 percent of the basic rate.

After six days of work, employees receive one day of rest. Those who work on a rest day are compensated at a rate of 200 percent of the basic rate. Employees who work on federal holidays are entitled to receive 200 percent of their regular pay.

08. Minimum wage


The monthly minimum wage varies by industry as well as geographical location. Currently, the minimum wage ranges from 13,572.90 KES for a cleaner or gardener to 30,627.45 KES for a cashier or heavy commercial driver.

09. Employee benefits


Kenya's social security system provides mandatory benefits such as old-age, disability, sickness, death, maternity, work injury, unemployment, and medical care to various groups of people such as children, employed, unemployed, retired, or elderly people.

10. Why Rivermate as your Employer of Record / PEO?

Establishing an entity in


to hire a team takes time, money, and effort. The labor law in


has strong worker employment protection, requiring great attention to details and a thorough awareness of local best practices. Rivermate makes expanding into


simple and effortless. We can assist you with hiring your preferred talent, managing HR and payroll, and ensuring compliance with local legislation without the hassle of establishing a foreign branch office or subsidiary. Our PEO and Global Employer of Record solutions in


give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about how Rivermate can help you hire employees in


via our Employer of Record / PEO solution.

Ready to get started? Our friendly staff is ready to assist you with all your questions, let's connect.