2.3m workers at risk of losing medical cover, warns FKE


FKE chief executive Jacqueline Mugo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

At least 2.3 million workers may not benefit from medical cover provided by their employers if the Covid-19 pandemic persists, the employers' lobby has warned.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) in its submission to the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Covid-19 stated that the provision of medical covers to employees may not be tenable in the long run as employers see their incomes drop significantly.

FKE chief executive Jacqueline Mugo told the Johnson Sakaja-led committee that most members of the federation are currently in distress due to the effects of the coronavirus.

“Most employers have opted to give their employees unpaid leave. However unpaid leave only affects basic pay, medical and other fringe benefits still must be catered for by the employer. This may not be tenable in the long run,” Ms Mugo told the committee.

“The extent of insurance coverage on Covid-19 and related illnesses should be made transparent.”

Currently FKE has a membership of 1,900 enterprises, representing about 2.3 million employees. Coupled with the recent loss of jobs in the country due to the pandemic, missing out on medical cover may further pile misery on the already strained workers.

Workers globally are struggling after their livelihoods were destroyed by social distancing rules and lockdowns enforced in various countries to control the spread of the disease.

In a bid to remain afloat and continue providing services, some employers have sent their staff home while others have subjected them to pay cuts as high as 50 per cent following a dip in revenues.

A Labour ministry report last month indicates that so far 133,657 jobs in the formal sector have been lost in the country since the first coronavirus case was reported in March.