In a move that will have far-reaching repercussions in the private security sector, guards will now take home a minimum gross pay of Sh30,000.
Security guards have for the longest time, remained underpaid with many taking home an average of Sh7,000 per month.
However, this might change after the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) set the minimum wage for security guards at Sh18,994.08. They will also earn a house allowance of Sh2,849.11 and Sh8,156.81 as overtime allowance.
Employers who fail to adhere to the requirements risk a fine of up to Sh2 million, according to the legal notice by the authority’s Chief Executive Officer Fazul Mohamed.
According to Fazul, there is an urgent need to enforce minimum wage requirements since many security firms continue to underpay guards amid the rising cost of living.
“Basically, we want to uplift the life and dignity of the security guards as we strive to attract professionals, and the legal notice was necessary since some security firms claim they are not aware of the minimum wage as well as calculated statutory deductions,” he said.
The minimum wage will apply to those at the entry level, but pay will improve progressively depending on the number of years served, skills and training.
“We are preparing a career progression guideline that will enable us set pay for senior guards,” said Fazul
On several occasions, the National Private Security Workers Union Secretary General Isaac Andabwa has complained that most security firms do not remit statutory deductions from members.
It will now be mandatory for the deductions to be remitted, according to the legal notice, which has set Sh1,080 to the National Social Security Fund, Sh825 (Social Health Insurance Fund), Sh1,229.75 (Pay As You Earn) and Sh450 being a contribution for Affordable Housing Levy.
Going forward, the issuance of Guard Force Number will be done to show proof that a private security officer has duly trained and been registered by the authority whose key mandate is regulating the industry.
Andabwa welcomed the move, saying it is long overdue, and accused some private security firms of abusing the minimum wage requirement.
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“We are supporting the legal notice fully since it is a step in the right direction. Workers will benefit and so will the government, which has been starved statutory deductions from our members,” he said.
Section 69 of the Private Security Regulation Act No 13 of 2016 states that a person (including government institutions, agencies or bodies; and/or any individual, security companies, corporate entities, organizations, associations or any other entity recognized by law whether incorporated or unincorporated) who hires, employs or otherwise engages the services of any private security service provider and pays or remunerates them below the mandated basic minimum wage commits an offense.
Guards are considered key in the fight against crime and terrorism.
“We are now players in the security sector. As the first line of defense, private security officers are critical in forestalling danger and that is why we have embarked on an aggressive training programme,” said Fazul.