I remember sometime in December 2011, the government announced that employers had 30 days to ensure National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) deductions for their house helps were made, or else face the consequences. The deadline passed on 9 January 2012.
So how’s that going for you? Has your housegirl started making these payments? Or are you making the payments for her?
I wonder how many of us, or our housegirls have complied. But perhaps most of us haven’t because we didn’t quite understand what was required; whether it is we the employer, or if it is the housegirl herself who is supposed to make the payments from her salary, how she is supposed to get a membership card, where the payments are supposed to be made, how they are supposed to be made…etcetera etcetera.
Well, I sought out some of the answers to the questions which me and fellow moms with housegirls had, and I thought to share them here for the benefit of others who may have similar queries.
Who pays the money; is it the house help (via deduction from her salary) or is it the employer (without deducting from the salary)?
Ideally, payments come from the housegirl’s salary. However, if you wish to pay for her (without deducting from her salary), you are free to do so.
How is this money remitted?
The money can be sent through MPESA on business number 200222, or paid through any Cooperative Bank, National Bank or KCB accounts. It is not possible to pay cash at the NHIF offices.
How much is the contribution per month? Can the money be paid lump sum (e.g. for a quarter of a year) or does it always have to be done on a monthly basis?
She is required to remit Ksh 160 every month. Yes, payments can be done lump sum.
In what category does she register as; salaried or self-employed?
She registers as a self-employed.
What documents does the housegirl need to be registered as an NHIF contributor?
She needs a copy of her national identity card and 1 colored passport photo. If she has children below 18 years (dependants), she is required to produce copies of their birth certificates/birth notification, and 1 colored passport photo for each child.
Where does she register?
At the nearest NHIF office.
What of housegirls who have no national identity cards? How do they get registered?
They are allowed to use their waiting slip.
Are non-Kenyan housegirls also required to remit NHIF monthly payments? E.g. those from Uganda, Tanzania etc?
Yes they are required to. As long as you are working in Kenya and are earning a minimum of Ksh 1,000 then you should remit payments. To be registered, such a person is required to produce their passport, alien certificate or work permit.
Incase you decide to make the payments for your housegirl and yet she is still on probation for the first three months (you’re still unsure if you will keep her on or not), do you still have to remit her NHIF payments during this period?
NHIF payments should be made on a monthly basis regardless of employment terms, i.e; permanent, contract or casual basis. Besides, it is important that you do so as this comes in handy incase she is taken ill during the time she is with you.
What if she is married and her spouse is making payments to NHIF, is she still required to make her own payments?
Both spouses are required to pay if they are employed. Under the law, ‘all persons resident in Kenya, over 18 years and whose total income is not less than Kshs. 1,000 in any given month are required to contribute to the Fund irrespective of whether the spouse is a contributor or not’.
How many members of her family (dependants) are covered and up to what ages?
Each person is able to cover one spouse only. To include a spouse, she is required to produce a marriage certificate, a copy of the spouses’ ID card and 1 colored passport photo of his.
Children are covered up to the age of 18 years. However, if the child is over 18 and is undertaking a full time educational course at a university, college, school or any other educational establishment, he/she can be included as a dependant. However, the contributor is required to produce evidence from the educational establishment as proof of dependence.
If one has a child with permanent disability (such as physical or mental disability), the NHIF cover is for life, though a letter from a doctor confirming the same is required as proof.
To include children as dependants, she will be required to produce colored passport photos of each child, and their birth certificate/birth notification.
What if there is no marriage certificate? Does NHIF recognize traditional marriages?
Yes it does. However one is required to produce a sworn affidavit from the Magistrate.
Are there specific hospitals she and her dependants can access, or can they access any hospital?
She can visit any hospital accredited with NHIF.
If she falls sick, what is the process of making respective claims?
NHIF encourages use the membership card at the hospital because reimbursements are made directly to the hospital.
Is the medical cover both an In-patient and Out-patient one?
No, at the moment it is only In-patient.
If one has been a contributor for sometime and has not received an NHIF card, does it mean that such person is not properly registered?
Yes. One is only a contributor but not a member if they have not submitted a duly completed form to NHIF for processing and issuance of an NHIF card. It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that a contributing member is registered and issued with a membership card.
How long does it take to get the membership card?
Urgent cards take 24 hours to be printed. Normal cards will take up to 14 days. A member can go to the nearest NHIF office to inquire if the card has been printed once the set deadlines have elapsed.
What is the penalty for non-remittance?
Penalty is 5 times the amount they should have paid.
By what date of each month should this money have been remitted to NHIF?
By the 9th of every month.
Where are the NHIF offices located in Nairobi?
At NHIF Building, at Devcon Building in Industrial area and at Bandari Plaza in Westlands.
There are also NHIF satellite offices in Ruaraka, Buruburu, Ongata Rongai, Kenyatta National Hospital and in Eastleigh.
For see those outside Nairobi, click here.
NB: I sourced these answers from Maureen Tinderet (Compliance Officer at NHIF), and from the NHIF website.
This article was originally published in Mummy Tales – the blog by a Kenyan mom.