In a recent partnership between technology company SeamlessHR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, blue-collar workers in Kenya will gain the ability to retrieve their earned wages before their regular payday.
Through the partnership, SeamlessHR has introduced a new platform dubbed Barizi that allows employees to access their salaries before payday and manage financial emergencies without paperwork and at a lower cost. Additionally, the platform helps casual workers build their credit history which enables them to access sizeable loans with longer repayment periods.
The event, themed “Win-Win: Optimising Blue-Collar Employee Welfare and Productivity”, took place at the prestigious Capital Club, Nairobi. It was an exclusive gathering that brought together the top 30 employers of blue-collar workers in Kenya, including prominent manufacturers, with the objective of facilitating discussions and devising impactful strategies to enhance the welfare and productivity of this vital workforce segment.
“The Barizi solution will improve the financial state of wellbeing of blue-collar sector. They do not have to worry about emergency money. This will in turn positively impact their drive and motivation and at the end improve their productivity,” said SeamlessHR CEO Emmanuel Okeleji.
“It’s not a loan or a credit facility that uses employment as collateral. Barizi will give employees access to the wages they have earned for the days they have worked within the month.
“In addition, we have also built a comprehensive technology tool to track time and attendance. With the ability to access their hard-earned wages in real time, casual workers can transform their aspirations into realities and enable them to have a better life,” he added.
The initiative is aimed at improving the overall financial well-being of the blue-collar workers whose needs have been largely overlooked and creating a long-lasting impact on this segment of Africa’s talent.
“The reality on the ground is that in Kenya we have a million people earning less than Kshs30,000 per month.” Said Bidco Africa, Chairman, Vimal Shah. “This results in many challenges of blue-collar sector having little or no access to credit, yet they are the ones who keep the wheels moving in organisations and factories.”
Within Kenya labour market, individuals engaged in blue-collar work receive compensation ranging from Sh100 to Sh450 per day. These roles encompass a variety of tasks such as cleaning, sorting and packaging, laundering, repairing, and assembling dry cells. The majority of these workers receive their wages at the conclusion of each month, without any additional employment benefits being extended by their employers.
“Out of 18 million workforces in Kenya, informal workers comprise over 80% while only 2 million make up formal employment. According to KAM representative, Winnie Ngumi.
“Most blue-collar workers tend to receive fewer benefits from employers and this explains their financial insecurity. They do not have access to emergency funds, and thus tend to turn to loan shacks and predatory mobile lending apps, sinking into a cycle of debts.” She added.
The platform will help casual workers build their credit history which enables them to access sizeable loans sizable with longer repayment periods.
“At BIll and Melinda Gates Foundation, we believe in financial inclusion for the blue-collar sector. We also aim to break cycles of poverty especially for those who have to use physical assets when transacting using cash which can be get lost or stolen,” says Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation representative, Will Kaplan.
Kaplan emphasized that BIll and Melinda Gates Foundation achievement lies in ensuring that blue-collar workers can easily attain affordable credit, aiding households in maintaining consistent consumption patterns and enhancing their ability to withstand economic uncertainties.
Within Kenya, the platform is backed by PesaLink and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB). Additionally, the company has established a collaboration with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, which serves as a representative body for prominent employers of casual workers.
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