Kshs 7,586 is the minimum wage gazette by the Labour Minister, John Munyes this 2011 Labour Day for the domestic help under the Legal Notice 64.
It definitely is uplifting news for women across the country and especially those in the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu to get a proper due for their work. Keeping in mind the high cost of living and that most send money to their families and children back home this is very encouraging.
But what about their employer? Most households have two income earners and still it is not enough. They too are faced with the high cost of living and very low hope of salary increments. The Chairman of the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Jaqueline Mugo does not think this wage increase is going to be practical especially because the Government is lacking in the structure to carry it out.
But how much is the Government to make it practical? If they want to implement rights to domestic workers such as reasonable working hours and better working conditions, what is wrong with that? Is this an excuse by the FKE to not support it and have employers increase the wages of their employees and thus create a cycle of increment and balance with the current strains of living?
When we go to work and if we expect similar treatment why should the domestic worker be treated also just like a worker? Eventually the domestic worker is going to suffer because the employer’s employer is not passing down the increment and they will have to seek other ways of earning a living. This may raise the theft or poor working habits among them. This may also present the opportunity for the house owner to change their house help if they have not been able to deliver good work because there is equality in pay. The only concern is that most households have a loyal bond and often support them with easy loans for education or homes for their families and this might slowly come to an end.