New policy compels firms to pay interns

Robin Obino @obinorobin

Employers may soon be obligated to pay students on industrial attachment or graduate interns if the new internship policy is adopted.

The policy, drafted by the National Employment Authority (NEA), will apply to both public and private institutions. NEA chairperson Winnie Pertet said the current policy on internship payment is unclear.

A 2016 Public Service Commission circular directed that interns hired by the government be paid at least Sh25,000. It, however, was silent on those in the private sector. Some private firms pay interns while others don’t.

Pertet said providing interns with incentives encourages them to offer better services and also cater for their needs. NEA proposes that interns get at least Sh1,000 a month. “The government should facilitate students at tertiary institutions find paid internship for a period of three to 12 months during or after the completion of their studies,” she said.

The new policy seeks to among other things, ensure a well-structured and coordinated internship programme that provides graduates with work experience, framework for monitoring, and strengthen the link between colleges and job market. Federation of Kenya Employers executive director Jacqueline Mugo urged companies to embrace the new policy once it is effected.

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