No more clearance certificates for job seekers after parliament passes bill on HELB, CRB clearance

Parliament has today, on Wednesday, 09/02/2022 voted to approve a law on HELB, and CRB clearance certificates for entry job seekers. 

The law now bars employers from seeking clearance certificates from persons they have no intention of hiring.

Parliament passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill (No. 79) of 2019, sponsored by MP Gideon Keter.

After making an offer of employment, the proposed law requires a company to conduct background checks on prospective employees.

People applying for jobs, particularly in government institutions, are often needed to present clearance notifications from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Higher Education Loans Board, Credit Reference Bureau, Kenya Revenue Authority, and Directorate of Criminal Investigation.

Keter introduced the bill on the basis that the majority of the unemployed are under the age of 35 and hence unable to afford clearance certificates necessary by companies for employment purposes.

“It is, therefore, necessary for an employer to require an applicant to submit the mandatory requirements as a condition for confirmation of employment,” he said.

Job seekers have been paying more than Sh5,000 for clearance certifications, some being renewed every year for a fee of roughly Sh1,000.

The focus now shifts to President Uhuru Kenyatta who is expected to assent to the proposed law to give it effect.

An employer may not compel an employee for a contract of service to provide any clearance certificates for which payment is necessary during the recruitment process.

Only if the employer wants to enter into a written service contract with the employee would this be the case.

“An employer who intends to enter into a written contract of service may, in compliance with Chapter Six of the Constitution, request an employee to submit mandatory clearance certificates from the relevant entities,” the proposed law reads.

According to a study conducted by the Parliamentary Budget Office, state institutions that issue clearance certificates for the purposes of complying with Chapter Six of the Constitution make a profit of approximately Sh750 million.

The member of parliament, Gedion Keter argued that the charges amounted to a rip-off as “public-funded institutions should never be cash cows.”

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