, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 7 – Nairobi residents have protested the newly gazetted minimum wage for domestic workers of Sh10,954 per month.
Those interviewed by Capital FM News on Tuesday said they cannot afford to pay their house helps more than Sh5,000 per month due to harsh economic times with low salaries.
“We are living in a very harsh economic time, where can we get that money from? We would wish to pay them well, but now we don’t have that money,” Christine Ngeno said.
Francis Nikolai said whereas it was a positive gesture, most Nairobians live within means of constrained budgets. He said that some of them earn not more than Sh15,000 hence it was not possible to heed the new regulation of the domestic worker’s salary.
According to Nikolai, there are those who can afford the Sh10,954 and there is a majority that can only afford Sh3,000.
“The government has not done bad increasing the salaries for domestic workers. But they need to investigate the one paying the house help that money, where will he/she be getting it from? They need to know how much that person is earning to pay the girl all that money,” Francis Nikolai said.
Others said they were ready to implement the directive but also they have to make food and accommodation deductions since most house helps live with their employers.
“I have no problem but I have to deduct the money I spend on her accommodation, meals, toiletries and all that,” another resident said.
Some residents also felt that with the high rate of unemployment, it is fine for employers to offer what they can to their domestic workers who otherwise would have nothing to earn at all.
In their view, employment of domestic workers should be an agreement between the domestic worker and the employee.
“Some homes have many bedrooms, others are one roomed, some homes have children, others don’t have, it also depends on the number of people living in that home and the amount of work the domestic worker has,” others argued.
On Monday acting Labour Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo issued a legal notice demanding that the minimum wage for domestic workers be increased from about Sh9,781 to Sh10,954.