It is usual for households in Nairobi to have two or more domestic staff, depending upon the size of their family, age of their children, and size of their house and garden. Domestic help can be obtained very easily, although it is strongly recommended that you only hire people with verifiable references and initially only on a trial basis (making this clear to each staff member). The Commandant and Senior Police Officers at the Diplomatic Policy Unit (DPU) suggest that the following precautions be taken when hiring residential staff, gardeners and drivers because there have been a number of thefts from households where the suspect cannot be properly identified but could be staff member (or assisted by them).
Consideration when hiring domestic help
- The labor rights of domestic workers are granted by law. This includes minimum wage, taxes, contribution to the National Health Insurance Fund, National Social Security Fund, different types of allowances, … UNKLESA can help you with information about hiring domestic staff.
- There are service providers that can help you with the red tape. UNKLESA has the contacts of several providers for you to pick from.
Suggested Practices for hiring a house help
- Request from the Jurisdictional Police or directly from the CID Criminal Records a check of prospective employees. This entails the subject to provide fingerprints and a personal history to the Police. The cost for a Criminal Records Check is KSH 1,000. Once notified that the Criminal Records Check has been completed, the document should be collected by the employer. If the potential domestic worker, subject of the Criminal Record Check is permitted to collect this document, a forgery can easily be obtained in Kenya and the original destroyed.
- Obtain a photocopy of the front and back pages of the Kenya Identity Card for future reference and the physical address of the domestic workers and mobile telephone number. Store in a secure location.
- Take clear photograph of the employee to be stored with the Identity Card.
- Always demand reference letters. Ensure that the person who provided the reference is personally contacted to verify the information provided. References and recommendations are often forged.
- Do not leave money, bank cheques, credit and debit cards and attractive items such as jewelry in the open. Large sums of money should not be kept in the residence as it provides a temptation that may result in theft.
- Guests should be advised not to leave valuable and attractive items open to view or in drawers/cabinets, as the maid, when conducting housework, could be tempted to steal.
- Do not give keys for external and internal doors to the household staff, especially when absent from the residence overnight or for longer periods.
- Instruct Security Guards that no one is permitted within the residential compound without the permission of the homeowner/tenant, even if they claim to represent a Government Department. If the visitor is insistent and the owner/tenant is absent, the Guard is to contact the owner/tenant immediately and sound the panic alarm to have a Security Mobile Response Team attend the location.
- When absent from the residence for any period of time, contact the security provider to increase patrols in the location and to check with the residential security guards for any unusual activity in the immediate area.