•FKE reveals that 1,118 employees in 47 companies directly affected by layoffs
•Certain employers have also been mentally affected by dwindling business fortunes
•FKE urges government to provide affordable Covid-19 testing to companies that cannot afford to test their employees continually
Forty-seven companies in Kenya have reduced their workforce since the onset of Covid-19 due to low business, according to the The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE).
FKE said 1,118 employees from firms that form its membership have been affected by the staff cuts.
“The companies affected are widespread; some in the manufacturing and in the service sector. Most of them have not been in operation due to Covid-19 restrictions while for others output has reduced due to reduced working hours,” FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo said.
Mugo spoke at FKE's virtual Annual General Meeting .
She said that many employers, especially small and medium enterprises, have been psychologically affected by the economic challenges occasioned by the pandemic.
"We have had some of our members call in and we connected them to mental health experts. Telling your employees that you do not have work for them has been very distressing for some of the leaders," Mugo said.
She warned of tougher times ahead for the economy unless special measures are taken to mitigate the effects of the increasing Covid-19 infection rates.
"We call upon employees and their representatives to be very considerate and willing to compromise in finding solutions that will help all of us sail through this pandemic," she said.
One of these compromises proposed is re-skilling of employees to operate in a digital world, such as work ingfrom home.
"This is necessary to ensure continuity of work and productivity. Companies that are continuing operations should consider training and reskilling their employees to work from home and to provide them with the resources to do so," Mugo said.
FKE also urged the government to regularly provide affordable Covid-19 testing to companies in sectors that provide essential services, such as transport and hospitality.
At the meeting, Dr Habil Olaka was elected as FKE's new president with Gilda Odera and Mike Macharia taking up the positions of first and second vice presidents, respectively.
Olaka who is also the Kenya Bankers' Association chief executive replaces Mark Obuya, who has been at the helm for the past four years.