National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi alerted the MPs of the President’s memorandum rejecting the Employment (Amendment) Bill sponsored by Gilgil MP Martha Wangari.
The proposed law sought to provide two months maternity to the mother and two weeks paternity leave to the father of an adopted child.
In the President’s memorandum, he noted that amending the law would interfere with the frameworks that govern surrogacy in the country. He also said that the matter would require the formulation of a comprehensive policy through public participation as well as through additional legislation.
The President pointed out that the country lacks a law on surrogacy, that is, having a woman bear a child for another person or persons. Kenyatta stated that due to the legal gap, a child born through surrogacy needs to be adopted through the court.
“This being a sensitive matter, it is important to put in consideration the rights of the parties involved in surrogacy,” he stated.
According to the Bill, “Where a child is born as a result of surrogate motherhood agreement, an employee who is a commissioning parent shall be entitled to two consecutive months parental leave with full pay from the date the child is born in the case of a female employee and two weeks paternal leave with full pay, in the case of a male employee who is married.”
The two months leave was aimed at giving the mother time to bond with her child.
The National Assembly Speaker Muturi told the Labor and Social Welfare to consider the President’s memorandum and file report within 21 days.
In order to overturn the President’s memorandum on the Bill, the House will require at least two-thirds which amounts to 233 lawmakers.
In 2017, then Buuri MP Boniface Gatobu unsuccessfully tried to have the law amended to have the maternity leave extended from three to six months.