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Over 1.1 million jobs lost due to COVID-19

Job losses have been experienced in all sectors.

In Summary

• The numbers seem relatively low because not everybody has come out to declare redundancies and job losses to the ministry, he said

• The closure of markets, cessation of movement that has affected the matatu industry and various other informal and formal employment, has led to massive job losses, the CS said.

Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Director Wilson Aruasa
Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Director Wilson Aruasa
Image: Jessica Nyaboke

An estimated 1.1 million Kenyans have lost their jobs nationally since the advent of Covid-19, Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Kiprono Chelugui has said.

The CS however said official notice of redundancies and job losses so far received by his ministry stands at 330,000 people losing employment due to the pandemic.

The numbers seem relatively low because not everybody has come out to declare redundancies and job losses to the ministry, he said

He also noted that job losses have been experienced in all sectors including education, agriculture horticulture, and aviation among other sectors.

 

The closure of markets, cessation of movement that has affected the matatu industry and various other informal and formal employment, has led to massive job losses, the CS said.

He added that the Coronavirus pandemic hit hard the informal sector that used to employ more than 15.5 million accounting for 40% of the country’s employment opportunities compared to only 2.9 million Kenyans in formal employment.

Speaking in Uasin Gishu on Thursday, where he officially opened the regional National Employment Authority, NEA offices Chelugui put on notice employers terminating employees through short messaging services, SMS that his ministry will take appropriate action.

“It is unlawful for an employer to terminate the services of an employee through SMS, even with the coronavirus pandemic, guidelines and labour laws are clear, an employer must give notice to an employee before declaring them redundant," he stressed.

Even if the employer is unable to pay severance pay to his employees, there is a way they can engage and release the employee rather than sacking them through SMS. Sending someone an SMS that they have lost their job is unacceptable, he said.

The CS who was accompanied by Environment and Forestry Secretary Administration William Kiprono and Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa said his ministry was working closely with the ministry of Interior to identify residents who have been adversely affected by the effects of Covid-19.

“As you are aware, the President announced Sh.10 billion to cushion new vulnerable across the country and we are in the process of identifying those to benefit to ensure we minimize the pain and suffering of our people affected by the pandemic, the CS said.

Chelugui said 19,448 persons in the usual vulnerable bracket in Uasin Gishu County were receiving support from the government under the Persons With Disability (PWD), Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and the senior citizens social protection programme.