The High Court in Eldoret has stopped the implementation of a legal notice requiring security firms to pay guards Sh30,000 per month.
Court issued a temporary order of stay, dealing a blow to the directive by the Ministry of Interior through the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA).
The PSRA legal notice was issued on November 2 but was rejected by a section of private security firms who claimed that it was not practical to pay a guard a minimum of Sh30,000 a month under the prevailing conditions.
On November 30, the Association of North Rift Security Firms moved to the High Court in Eldoret to challenge the move.
They were granted orders stopping the implementation of the legal notice by Justice Wananda Anuro on December 1, pending hearing and determination of the case.
“In the interim, a temporary order of stay of Legal Notice No. PSRA/005/2023 dated 2/11/2023 and all consequential orders arising therefrom pending the hearing and determination of this application inter-parties be and are hereby issued,” Justice Anuro ruled.
The case will come up for mention to confirm compliance and for further directions on January 18, 2024.
Lawyers representing the security firms Kevin Kimaru and Emmanuel Mutai said the legal notice contravened consumer rights and labour laws.
According to the PSRA regulations issued by the authority’s Director General Fazul Mohamed, a security guard should earn a basic pay of Sh18,994.08, Sh2,849.11 house allowance and Sh8,156.81 overtime allowance.
After statutory deductions, a guard would be pocketing Sh26,415.25 net pay.
The legal notice spelt a Sh2 million penalty for security firms that employed guards and paid less than the stipulated monthly salary.
“Section 69 of the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016, thus states that a person who hires, employs or otherwise engages the services of any private security service provider and pays or remunerates below the mandated basic minimum wage prescribed herein commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine or both such fine and imprisonment in the case of a natural person and Sh 2 million in the case of a corporate,” the regulator stated in a notice to security firms last month.
However, North Rift Security firms argued that the move would drive local companies out of business.
The association of North Rift Security Firms welcomed the orders slamming the brakes on the PSRA directive, terming it as a round one win in the case challenging the new rule.
Chairman of the association Charles Langat said it was unsustainable for small security firms to pay a guard Sh30,000 minimum wage.
“We offer security to private homes and installations that are unable to pay our firms Sh30,000 a month,” said Langat.
“Security firms who are employing thousands of guards will be forced to shut down if the move by PSRA is implemented. Firms have operational costs, which will make it difficult to sustain the prescribed wages,” he added.
The Ministry of Labour had last year set the minimum wage for private night guards at Sh16,959 in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.
Under the Labour Ministry guidelines, a security guard working in former municipalities was supposed to earn a minimum of Sh15,722 while their counterparts in other areas were expected to earn Sh9,672 per month.