The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has pulled out all the stops and unveiled the highly-anticipated Employers of the Year Awards (EYA), slated for September 29, 2023. This dazzling event aims to give a well-deserved pat on the back to employers who have gone above and beyond in their endeavors.

During the launch event at Waajiri House, FKE’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacqueline Mugo, emphasized that the awards aim to acknowledge exemplary practices among employers in Kenya since 2017.

Mugo further revealed that the awards will cover eight categories, including inclusion, working environment, enterprise performance, employee relationships, and other areas.

“The Employer of the Year Awards, which carries the tagline ‘Honouring Best Employers,’ is FKE’s prestigious flagship event that seeks to showcase and reward outstanding practices and innovations in corporate performance, people management, and industrial relations among Kenyan employers. Our objective is to promote and maintain productivity, enterprise performance, and responsibility,” explained Mugo.

“We aspire to witness continuous improvement in the performance of enterprises operating in Kenya, fostering competitiveness and enhancing companies’ ability to generate jobs and create a conducive environment,” added Mugo.

The CEO praised the initiative of affordable housing, noting that involving Kenyans in decision-making processes would ensure the provision of decent housing.

“This aligns with the law that requires employers to provide housing or a 15% housing allowance, which is mostly handled by the private sector,” Mugo stated.

Mugo expressed concerns about the 3% housing levy, highlighting the need to consider people’s living standards and net earnings.

“The federation finds it challenging to support the proposed housing levy as our members are raising concerns about the numerous other proposals that levy taxes on us. We have recently implemented the NSSF, and there are discussions about NHIF increasing to 2.7% of an employee’s salary. All these burdens will ultimately be shifted to the employer,” Mugo expressed.

According to Mugo, the introduction of levies could open a Pandora’s box of job losses, as employers would find themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to make ends meet by stretching employee salaries to the breaking point.

Racheal Matendechere, Head of HR Operations at British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT), highlighted the significance of winning the Employer of the Year Awards in 2017 and 2018. These accolades were received by BAT in the categories of effective HR practices, work environment, leadership, and governance practices. The recognition contributed to BAT’s certification from the global Top Employers Institute as a Top Employer in Kenya, Africa, and globally for the sixth consecutive year since 2018.

Matendechere encouraged fellow employers to participate in EYA 2023 to enhance their brand reputation, drive productivity, and promote business sustainability, thereby contributing to the growth of economies.

The Employer of the Year Awards centers around voluntary disclosure of relevant information that provides insight into an organization’s workplace practices. The awards continuously foster a strong industrial relations culture in Kenya, promoting enhanced industrial harmony.