COVID-19 pandemic

Kenyans are working more hours for lesser pay after firms used the coronavirus pandemic to cut workers’ pay and have not readjusted them as the country re-opens.

The Covid19 tracker, a survey by Financial Sector Deepening shows that Kenyan are currently working a 40 hour week and making Kes 3,200.

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Before the pandemic the average workers was doing 37 hours a week and was earning Kes 4,400, a 27 per cent decline in earning for more work done.

At the onset of the pandemic, work time declined to 30 hours a week due to lock down measures instituted by the government that set an early curfew at 7 pm.

This meant that companies had to shut their workplaces early to release their employees to beat the curfew.

A state survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statics (KNBS) indicates that on average, workers across all industries reported having worked fewer hours in the reference period as compared with the usual hours worked per week. 

Education sector recorded the highest variance of 40 hours between the usual and actual hours worked in a week.

This was followed by Accommodation & Food Services which had a variance of 30 hours.

As a result of less time spent at the office and lower earnings, the companies convinced their workers to take a pay cut which ranged from half pay to different percentage cuts.

FSD noted that during the 30 hour work weeks, Kenyans were earning Kes 2,800 almost half of pre-Covid times.

When the lockdown measures were slackened and curfew hours extended, work weeks increased to 32 hours and there was a marginal pay rise to Kes3,000.

While the working hours continued on an upward trend to 40 hours, the pay did not rise commensurate to time spent working.

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