“On Fridays, I carry files home to work on during the weekend. I’m not paid for it but I know my diligence will earn me better pay in future,” Susan Gituku, a credit officer at a Nairobi-based microfinance told Quartz. Kenyan law allows a maximum of 40 working hours for a five-day week (eight per day) but some companies extend that to 12 hours a day in pursuit of profits.

Another hurdle is that such a law can never be universally applied across all sectors, with people working as emergency medical staff, journalists, electricians, plumbers, fire fighters, security personnel, and drivers being forced by the nature of their jobs to work during odd hours, sometimes to save lives and livelihoods.

Executive director of the Federation of Kenyan Employers Jacqueline Mugo disagrees with the tenets of the right to switch-off from work, saying the bill will create indiscipline among employees, hurt the country’s micro-economy, and prevent the creation of new job opportunities in the public and private sectors.

“[It will] introduce new stringent measures that will curtail the prerogative to manage enterprises by the owners. This will automatically pose a challenge to industrial relations in Kenya,” she says.

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