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Why Kenyan employees can refuse to work on weekends, holidays and for extra hours

Tough orders

A ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court has declared it illegal to work during the weekends, holidays or for extra hours without pay.

Judge Linnet Ndolo made the ruling following a case filed by former money printing firm, De La Rue employee Daniel Njuguna, who was sacked for refusing to work for unpaid extra hours.

Ms Ndolo stated that: “it was unlawful for the De La Rue to terminate Njuguna’s contract highlighting that: “the logical conclusion is that since the instruction to work overtime without monetary compensation was itself unlawful, no charge based on it could stand. There was therefore no reason for the termination of the claimant's employment and the ensuing disciplinary process had no leg to stand on”.

Njuguna was employed in 1993 as a cleaner at the firm but rose to the position of print supervisor, earning at least Sh180,000 a month.


He told the court that he used to be paid for the extra time he was working but in December 2013 head of operations informed him that he was to work for extra hours without pay.

When he declined reporting to work, De La Rue fired him.

The company mentioned: “he claimant failed to attend work as instructed and was, therefore, issued with a show cause letter dated November 28, 2013 to which he responded on December 2, 2013”.

His dismissal letter handed by head of operations David Hepple indicated that “Njuguna wilfully neglected to perform his work, leading to summary dismissal”.

Following Judge Ndolo's order, De La Rue was instructed to pay Njuguna Sh2.36 million over unfair termination.


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