The National Employment Authority (NEA) was established in April, 2016 by an Act of Parliament (the National Employment Authority Act 2016) which effectively provided the legal framework and mandates for its operations. The Authority was created out of the then National Employment Bureau (NEB) which was one of the Departments in the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection. The Act therefore provided for the transitioning of the Bureau into the National Employment Authority. It mainly provides for a comprehensive institutional framework for: employment management; enhancement of employment promotion interventions; and increasing access to employment by the youth, minorities and marginalized groups and for connected purposes.
Following the country’s independence in 1963, the government established the Kenyanization of Personnel Bureau, which was a Unit under the Department for Labour. The mandate of the Bureau was to ensure that the vacant employment positions left by expatriates were filled by Kenyans. The Kenyans worked under the supervision of the expatriates as understudies for a given period of time, to ensure their effectiveness in undertaking these jobs.
In 1988,the National Employment Bureau (NEB) was established through a Presidential Directive in the Madaraka Day Speech of 1986, as one of the Departments in the Ministry of Labour. The Bureau was charged with: implementation of all policy measures outlined in Sessional Paper No. 2 of 1985 on unemployment (and subsequent Government pronouncements and policy documents); working along with both the public and private sectors in identifying employment opportunities and placing Kenyans with skills in appropriate positions locally and abroad; administration of foreign employment through regulation of private employment agencies.