Kenya: Intern Health Workers Sue Government Over Unpaid Stipend

Kenya: Intern Health Workers Sue Government Over Unpaid Stipend

More than 500 nutritionists and dieticians trained under a government-sponsored internship programme have sued the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Ministry of Health (MoH) over unpaid stipends.

They claim in their case at the Industrial Court in Mombasa that though they successfully completed their training, they are yet to be paid.

“The claim is for payment in arrears of the internship stipend for the claimants, which we are entitled to under the government internship policy for 2017,” said Michael Ouma, who filed the claim on behalf of 506 others.

They were deployed at health facilities and want PSC and MoH compelled to pay them for their work.

Mr Ouma argues that under employment laws, they are entitled to payment for the period they served.

They have told the court that the Employment Act defines an employee to include an apprentice or indentured learner.

An indentured servant is a worker contracted to work without wages for a fixed period in exchange for some benefit, such as learning a trade.

On the other hand, an apprentice is defined as a person bound by an indenture to work for an employer for a specified period to learn a craft, trade or profession and a learner in any field of employment or business.

The petitioners also argue that Section 2 of the Employment Act defines a contract of service to include a contract of apprenticeship and indentured learnership.