CJ Koome to appoint bench to hear NHIF petition
Chief Justice Martha Koome is expected to empanel a Bench of judges to hear a petition seeking to quash a section of the law that requires employers to match their employees NHIF contributions by paying the total amount without deducting it from the employee’s salary or remuneration.
The moves comes after the Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Monica Mbaru yesterday forwarded the file to her office to enable her appoint judges in a petition lodged by Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) since the case raises substantial issues.
“There exist important questions of law which warrant that the petition be dealt with by an enlarged bench. In the circumstances, I hereby certify that this matter raises a substantial question of law to warrant reference of the same to the Chief Justice as required under Article 165(4) of the Constitution,” Justice Mbaru said.
In the case the FKE is challenging the constitutionality of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment) Act of 2022 which was passed by the National Assembly and assented into law by former President Uhuru Kenyatta on January 10.
The disputed amendments introduced a requirement for employers to make a matching contribution to the fund established under the National Health Insurance Fund Act, 1998 (the Principal Act), equal to that which their employee is liable to contribute under the Principal Act and not to deduct the same from the salary or remuneration of the employee.
Other provisions of the Amendment Act were the requirement for exhaustion of private medical insurance cover before the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover can be used and the requirement that employers must pay for a private medical insurance cover for employees that guarantees benefits that are equal to or better than benefits.