Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (KWAL) has introduced new parental leave policies – increasing fully paid maternity and paternity leave periods while notably introducing leave guidelines for adoptive and surrogate parents as well as still birth, miscarriage and pre-term delivery.
The review of HR policies was driven by the quarterly KWAL Women’s Chat program which brings together all KWAL female employees in sessions to discuss issues pertaining to their growth and development in the work place. The new policies were announced at an event hosted by the KWAL Women’s Chat Lounge to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day.
The newly introduced policies entrenching leave for surrogate and adoptive parents make KWAL a trailblazer among Kenyan firms. A bill that would have compelled employers to give leave to parents of adopted children or those born through surrogacy was rejected by President Uhuru Kenyatta in February 2021, as he returned it to Parliament with a memorandum citing the absence of a substantive legal and regulatory framework governing surrogacy in Kenya.
KWAL’s revised policy saw maternity leave increased to 4 months fully paid leave (inclusive of public holidays). Labor laws in Kenya entitle female workers to 3 months (91 calendar days) of fully paid maternity leave on the birth of a child.
KWAL also increased paternity leave to 3 weeks up from the statutory 2 weeks leave.
On adoptive leave, when a female employee adopts a child less than 2 years of age, she will be entitled to 3 consecutive months of leave inclusive of public holidays.
If she adopts a child above 2 years of age but below 13 years of age, she shall be entitled to 1 month of leave inclusive of public holidays.
For surrogate parents, in the event that the employee is the commissioning parent, she shall be entitled to 3 consecutive months of leave on full pay (inclusive of public holidays).
In the event that employee is the surrogate in a surrogate motherhood agreement, she will be entitled to 4 consecutive months of leave on full pay. (inclusive of public holidays)
KWAL’s revised policy also saw it introduce guidelines on still birth, miscarriage and pre-term delivery.
In the unfortunate event that a mother has a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or delivers a stillborn child she will be entitled to maternity leave for 6 weeks on full pay after the miscarriage or still birth (inclusive of sick leave).
In the unfortunate event that a mother has a miscarriage before the third trimester of pregnancy, she will be entitled to maternity leave for 4 weeks on full pay after the miscarriage or still birth (inclusive of sick leave).
In the event that a mother delivers a pre term baby and is admitted in hospital, the mother will be given maternity leave for 3 months after discharge.
The leading wine and spirits manufacturer also announced a raft of measures to improve work place health and safety for expectant mothers.
The role-based provisions consider the needs of expectant mothers in sales teams, factory staff and the office – making arrangements to support them.
Expectant mothers in sales, for instance, will get support staff to help them in the field from 30 weeks on matters such as listings and wall poster placement while office staff will consider work from home arrangement from 32 weeks and an expectant employee will not perform any task that includes hazardous chemicals.
Factory staff will be excluded from lifting jobs and proceed for maternity leave from 38 weeks. They will also be excluded from night shift from 30 weeks and for 4 months post return to work.