On 26 June 2019, the National Employment Authority (the NEA) published a notice requiring employers in Kenya to submit returns in relation to their employees.

The requirement is pursuant to the Employment Act, No. 11 of 2007 (the Employment Act), which requires all employers with a workforce of more than 25 to keep a register of their employees details, including: full name, age, sex, occupation, date of employment, nationality and level of education and file a return with NEA for each calendar year ending 31 December.

NEA has given employers a grace period of up to 8 July 2019 to file the returns for the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.

As a first step, employers are required to register with NEA on their website here. Once this is done, employers will be able to file the returns using the available template. Failure to file the returns attracts a fine of up to KES 100,000 (approx. USD 1,000) and/or a six months jail term.

NEA was established in April 2016 under the National Employment Authority Act, 2016, which provides the legal framework and mandates for its operations and launched in May 2019. Its main purpose is to provide a comprehensive institutional framework for employment management, enhancement of employment promotion interventions and increasing access to employment for the youth, minorities and marginalised groups.

The directive is seen as a move to address the high unemployment level in the country noting that one of the purposes of collecting the data could be to identify vacancies with the aim of connecting potential job seekers.

In addition, it is important for employers to be aware of the following notification requirements set out under the Employment Act:

An employer with at least 25 employees must notify the Director of Employment of any vacancy occurring in the organisation. A vacancy is deemed to have occurred when:

  1. an employer creates a post to be filled by an employee or decides to engage one; or
  2. an employee terminates or has his employment terminated by the employer and the employer abolishes the office.

An employer must notify the employment service office when a vacant post is filled, or where a post has been abolished before being filled. This notification is required to be made within two weeks of the filling or abolition of the post. It is not clear what the Employment Act means by "an employer decides to engage one" and if this is intended to require notification of every employee hire. We hope that the position will be clarified soon.

An employer is required to notify the nearest employment service office of the termination of every employment and of each lay-off of a person within two weeks of the termination or lay-off.

Whilst the Employment Act provides that the above notices should be made to the employment service office, the notice published by NEA provides that, in addition to the employee returns, notifications in relation to any vacancies and/or terminations as set out above should also be made to NEA.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.