Wage Determination in the Domestic Services Sector in Kahawa and Githurai Estates in Kiambu County, Kenya
Okemwa, Josephat Mongare
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Determination and compensation of wages are concepts whose determinants may not necessarily be the same. Different sectors have a stipulated system of pay whereby workers are paid depending on their ranks or job grades, while others use individual characteristics such as education level, sex and work experience. In Kenya, minimum wage determination and fixing form an integral approach of wage setting in the domestic services sector aimed at protecting the domestic workers from exploitation. Despite the Government’s regulations and guidelines on minimum wage, domestic services sector workers who are otherwise performing almost the same work that requires the same skills in the same location area are paid different rates of wages as opposed to the set minimum wages. While many theories regarding wage compensation have been proposed, empirical studies on wage determination in the domestic services sector is scarce. The study therefore sought to establish underlying factors that influence wage determination in the domestic service sector in Kahawa and Githurai estates in Kiambu County, Kenya. Specific objectives were: To determine the effect of education level in years of schooling; work experience; type of residence of a domestic worker (rural or urban); sex of domestic workers and domestic worker’s dwelling on wages in the domestic service sector in Kahawa and Githurai estates. The study used a descriptive cross-sectional survey design which sought to give the quantitative relationship between the wage and its determinants. The target population for this study included domestic workers and their employers in Kahawa and Githurai estates. Primary data were collected by interviewers using questionnaires where 367 domestic workers were randomly selected and interrogated. The study used open-ended and closed ended questions to collect data. The collected data were coded and then quantitatively analysed using robust regression. The results of the analysis indicate that education level in years of schooling, work experiences in years, type of residence (rural or urban) are important factors in wage determination in the domestic services sector. Sex and dwelling of a domestic worker were found not important factors in determining wages. The implications of the findings suggest that in an effort to create fairness in the domestic services sector, policies and strategies that are anchored in the social economic characteristics of a domestic worker as well as human capital investment should be considered in determining remuneration of domestic workers a part from minimum wages which is generally defined and regulated by state law.