By Randa J.

“The difference between equity and equality is that equality is everyone get the same thing and equity is everyone get the things they deserve,” Derray Mckesson. The Employment (Amendment) Act rides on the spirit of these very words by including the pre-adoptive leave for adoptive parents in employment.

Though acknowledged by the Children’s Act and generally accepted by society as parents, no privileges were accorded to adoptive parents. In fact, the Employment Act was silent with priority given to birth parents upon the arrival of a new baby. The recently amended Employment Act has changed the corporate world’s outlook of parenting by embracing fair treatment to both parties: birth and adoptive parents respectively.  In as much as birth parents require maternity leave after the arrival of their new baby, adoptive parents are no different. The common denominator in both scenarios is that a child is joining a family. The physiological, mental, psychological and emotional involvement may differ in degree but are essentially experienced by both.

 Who is Eligible?

According to the Children’s Act, an adoptive parent refers to one who has been given the order by the Court to have parental rights and exercise duties relating to a child in their care. Therefore, an individual is entitled to pre-adoptive leave if they are employed, and if a child is legally placed under their care and control.

Having met the above pre-conditions, the Amendment Act provides that:

  • Adoptive parents are entitled to a one-month pre-adoptive leave with full pay from the date the child is officially adopted or placed under their care.
  • The adoptive parent eligible for pre-adoptive leave to notify the employer in writing, of the intention of the adoption society to place the child in the custody of the employee at least 14 days before the placement of the child.
  • The notification stated above should be accompanied by documentation that provides evidence of the intention of the adoption society to place the child in the custody of the adoptive parent (s) (employee), including a custody agreement between the adoptive parent (employee) and the adoption society and an exit certificate.


Although the above measures may seem stringent for a leave application, the Employment (Amendment) Act comes as a relief to many adoptive parents while seeking to disperse fairness and impartiality within the employment sector. The Employment (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2021 (the “Amendment Act”) was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 30th, 2021.

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