A proposed Bill seeks to give interns attached to government ministries and institutions compulsory monthly stipends and insurance of personal accident cover.
Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda holds that interns contribute to the manpower of the organisation by offering their professional skills as apprentices.
The Public Service Internship Bill, 2021, due for the first reading seeks to regulate internship programmes for college and university graduates within the public service.
“An intern engaged in the public service shall be eligible for payment of such monthly stipend as the Cabinet Secretary shall prescribe in regulations,” the Bill reads.
“The personal accident insurance cover shall be valid for the duration of the internship period,” the proposed law states.
In addition to the stipends, interns engaged in the public service will also for the period of their attachment be entitled to sick leave as well as maternity or paternity leave.
Lesuuda in her Bill further seeks that interns be paid subsistence allowance as may be determined by the Labour CS from time to time.
The Bill sets that an internship period shall not exceed twelve months, and that the lot will not be eligible for any pension or gratuity.
The proposed law also sets that an internship may be terminated on grounds of a 24-hour absence without permission or any reasonable cause.
Internships will also be terminated on grounds of gross or disorderly conduct; unsatisfactory performance; failure to obey any lawful instructions or commission of a criminal offence.
It also gives room for interns to terminate their engagements with the referenced institution through a 30-day notice in writing to the person in charge.
The proposed law will apply to unemployed graduates who require hands-on experience to improve their chances of employment, graduates seeking professional registration, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training graduates.
In the new rules, heads of public service institutions will be required to identify and declare all internship opportunities available.
They will be required to advertise the opportunities in the entity’s website and in at least two newspapers of nationwide circulation.
“The advertisement shall contain all relevant information pertaining to the areas of specialisation required, total number of interns required, and duration of the internship.”
Lesuuda also wants all state agencies compelled to set up internship management committees, plan and budget for internship programmes, conduct interns recruitment on basis of merit, and provide necessary facilities for the learners.
“Article 55 of the Constitution provides that the state shall take measures, including affirmative action, to ensure that the youth have access to relevant education, training and employment,” the MP says in the bill.
State agencies would also be required to pay the prescribed stipends to interns, appoint for them supervisors and mentors, and also issue certificates to those who complete the programmes.
Persons who have retired from formal employment on attaining retirement age as well as those who have been removed or have resigned are not eligible for internship placements.
Interns would be required to observe confidentiality of information and security of tools or equipment put in their possession during the course of their placement.
State agencies will be required to recruit the interns or delegate the work to any of its members, officer, or authority as well as keep data on internships.
In the financial year ending June 2020, the government recruited 5,560 interns from over 42,000 applications, a chunk of which were posted in ministries and state departments.
MDA took up 3,151 interns whereas state corporations had 1,948; 340 for public universities, 90 were at commissions and independent offices, and 31 at statutory commissions and authorities.
Another 191 was recruited under the Universal Health Coverage plan. A budget of Sh1 billion was set aside for the internship programmes.