Graduates and diploma holders absorbed as interns will be entitled to a monthly stipend of Sh25,000 while unemployed youth will get a monthly hardship allowance of Sh3,000 if a proposal to amend the Employment Act and Social assistance Act is approved by the House.
The amendments are being fronted by two MPs-Caleb Amisi (Saboti) and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and are meant to cushion the youth and the unemployed against the harsh economic times.
Mr Amisi wants Social Assistance Act no.24 of 2014 amended so that any unemployed youth to receive a hardship allowance of 12,000 after every four months in form assistance from the government.
Amisi’s legislative proposal also seeks to amend section 22 of the Principal Act to make provision for the Cabinet Secretary to gazette 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,” Mr Amisi said.
Mr Amisi regretted that most youth lack necessary support and facilitation to be able to make job applications on job vacancies and even to attend interviews in some areas.
Latest UNDP report indicate that the latest number of unemployed youth is 2.6 million, these are youths with requisite qualifications and are looking for employment but cannot get one.
This will mean the government will spend Sh 93.6 billion in the first year to accommodate the unemployed youths; the figure will however shoot to Sh 100.8 billion in the second year.
Mr Barasa on the other hand is seeking to amend the Employment Act no.1 of 2017 to provide for the absorption of diploma and graduate interns by public and private sector employees and pay them Sh25, 000 every month.
Mr Barasa’s proposal is estimated to cost taxpayer’s Sh 26.5 billion if each of the country’s 110,604 interns are to be absorbed at an average Sh 20,000 monthly stipend.
“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,” reads the proposed amendment.
If passed, it will also be mandatory for an employer to notify the director of employment of every vacancy in his establishment, business or work place
The Bill also requires an employer who also employs more than fifty employees shall offer internship to degree and diploma holders five percent of the total workforce.
According to the bill, the internship program shall be for a period of between three and 12 months or the duration prescribed by the professional body which regulates the profession in which the intern seeks registration.
The current social act, 2013 provides for the provision of social assistance to persons in need of social assistance.
At the moment the act identifies persons in need to include orphans and vulnerable children, poor elderly persons, unemployed persons, persons disabled by acute chronic illnesses, widows and widowers, persons with disabilities and any other person who may be determined by the Cabinet Secretary.
The two MPs appeared before the Budget and Appropriation committee Tuesday to defend their bills on how they should be financed. The committee will give its report later.