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9 Things every Nigerian should know about the Labour Act

9 Things every Nigerian should know about the Labour Act
1. All employees must have a written contract. The Labour Act states that an employer must give an employee a written contract within 3 months of the commencement of the employment. The contract must have the certain key terms – name of employer/employee, nature of employment, duration, wages etc. The key thing here is to ensure that the employee is protected by all the relevant terms being reduced to writing so the employee knows what is expected of him/her. Also important is that if there is any change in the terms of the employment, it should be made known in writing to the employee within 1 month.
2. Payment of wages. Any contract where the whole or part of the worker’s wages is made payable in any other manner apart from legal tender shall be illegal, null and void. Therefore, it is illegal for your employer to attempt to pay you with things other than money.
3. It is illegal for any contract to be for the payment of wages at intervals exceeding one month unless with the written consent of the State Authority. This means if your employer makes you sign an employment contract where the employee is to be paid every quarter or every 6 weeks etc., such a contract is illegal.
No employer can impose any restrictions as to the place and manner in which the employee can spend his/her wages. So your employer can’t insist that you only buy lunch from the office canteen. Employers are not allowed to provide an advance of wages in excess of 1month wages
4. Salary Deductions. Employers are not allowed to deduct an employee’s wages for any reason, unless reasonable deduction for injury/loss caused to the employer by the employee, but only with prior written consent of an authorised labour officer. Also, if you are lucky enough to have your employer mistakenly overpay you, then you should know that the money which was overpaid can only be deducted within 3 months from the date of the overpayment. Any attempt by your employer to deduct the overpayment from your future salary after the expiration of this 3-month period is illegal
5. It is Illegal to prevent employees from joining trade unions and other labour associations. No employment contract can prevent workers from joining trade unions, and any contract which makes it a condition of employment that the worker should relinquish membership of a trade union or prejudices workers by reason of trade union membership is illegal.
6. Rest Hours, Sick Leave, and Holidays for Employees.
If a worker is at work for more than 6 hours a day, he/she must be given at least 1 hour of rest-interval in that day. Further, in every period of 7 days, a worker is entitled to at least 1 day of rest which must not be less than 24 consecutive hours. So for instance if you work Sunday all through Saturday, you must have the whole of the following Sunday as a mandatory day off. Every worker is also entitled to 12 days’ sick leave for temporary illness certified by a registered medical practitioner. Every employee after 12 months of continuous service is entitled to a holiday with full pay of at least 6 working days (this is exclusive of all the public holidays)
7. Maternity and Paternity leave. All female employees are entitled to at least 12 weeks’ maternity leave with full pay. Unfortunately, the Nigerian Labour Act does not recognise paternity leave and makes no such provisions. However, in Lagos State civil servants are entitled to 10 days’ paternity leave within the first 2 months of the birth of the baby.
8. Transfer of employment. An employee must consent to the transfer of his/her employment from one employer to another for it to be valid, and the transfer must be endorsed by an authorised Labour officer. So if for instance your company is taken over by another company, your employment will not automatically move to this new company (employer) without first consulting you and getting your agreement to transfer your employment.
9. Termination of employment. With respect to the termination of an employment contract, the Labour Act provides for minimum notice periods:
I. Where the employee has been employed for a period of 3 months or less, either party may terminate the contract with a minimum of 1-day notice
II. Where the employee has been employed for a period of 3 months but less than 2 years, either party may terminate the contract with a minimum of 1-week notice.
III. where the employee has been employed for a period of 2 years but less than 5 years, either party may terminate the contract with a minimum of 2-weeks notice.
XI. Where the employee has been employed for a period of 5 years or more, either party may terminate the contract with a minimum of 1-month notice
X. When giving notice of termination of employment contract where the notice is 1 week or more, the notice must be in writing
Source: LawPàdí’s Ask a Legal Question
email at contact@lawpadi.com
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 2020-07-24   Admin

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