The Proposal to pay interns and jobless youth was introduced by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Saboti and the MP for Kimilili Didmus Barasa few months after Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda drafted a bill seeking to have interns paid.
The Bill was submitted to Parliament on Tuesday. It is the brainchild of Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda who said it reflects Article 55 of the constitution. Article 55 stipulates that the State shall take measures including affirmative action, programmes that will ensure that the youth have access to inter-alia relevant education, training and employment.
Interns to attached to any company in Kenya will soon be eligible to a monthly allowance of 25,000 shillings if amendments proposed on the Employment Act and Social assistance Act are approved by Parliament.
Every unemployed youth in Kenya will be entitled to a monthly hardship allowance of 3,000 shillings if the amendment proposal goes through.
Hon Lesuuda argued that the bill was for the purpose of protecting interns against exploitation most of them faced from employers who used them without any pay.
The unemployed youths will be entitled to 12, 000 shillings from the Government, to cushion them from the harsh economic times, after every four months according to the proposed amendment.
The proposal further seeks to amend section 22 of the Principal Act to make provision for the Cabinet Secretary to gazette a hardship allowance
“The unemployed people in Kenya are not provided with unemployment allowance or any social assistance as it is the case in some countries. A big number of unemployed youth are unable to sustain living in urban areas where opportunities are found,” said Hon. Amisi.
The most recent UNDP report shows that the number of unemployed youth stands at a worrying 2.6 million despite being qualified.
Hon. Barasa, on the other hand, is seeking to amend the Employment Act no.1 of 2017 to enable the provision of the absorption of diploma and graduate interns by public and private sector employees with a standard pay of 25, 000 shillings every month.
“The Bill seeks to provide a minimum wage payable to interns. It also seeks to make provision for a requirement for all employees to file annual internship returns with the director of employment,” the proposed amendment reads.
The Bill further states that an employer who employs more than fifty employees shall offer an internship to degree and diploma holders with five percent of the total workforce.
The debate on whether or not to pay interns has been floated with the divided opinion being witnessed, what remains, however, is the reality of the harsh economic that makes survival impossible for the youth as basic needs cannot be overlooked.