READ This If You Are An Employee In Nigeria

READ This If You Are An Employee In Nigeria




Today’s newsletter will highlight a few of the rights that most workers might not be aware of.

Training Bonds – Are they Legal?
It’s a common practice in Nigeria for employers to sponsor their employees on training and then try to contractually insist that the employee must stay with the employer for a certain period or else repay the money the company spent on the training. This is what is called a training bond.

Generally, training bonds are void and unenforceable because they constitute a restraint of trade and violate our Labour Laws. However, a training bond could be enforceable if its terms are reasonable in the circumstances. A training bond would be reasonable where the length is not unduly long, and it is necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer. This is generally based on the circumstances, and so if you are considering leaving an employer, but afraid to do so because there is a training bond that if activated could mean a big sum to payback – then you should consider discussing with a lawyer to review the terms of the training bond, as it may be an illegal training bond.

Parental Leave
All pregnant female employees are entitled to at least 12 weeks’ maternity leave. During the period of maternity leave, the employee is entitled to be paid at least 50% of her salary if she has been in continuous service of the employer for at least 6 months.

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.

It is unlawful for an employer to dismiss a pregnant worker or employee who has recently given birth. The courts have held that any such termination is a breach of the human rights of the employee and would amount to wrongful termination.

Work Reference from former employer
A former employee is not entitled to a work reference as a right. However, there is an implied obligation to provide a work reference in appropriate circumstances, for instance where such a reference would normally be required before the employee can be employed in the industry he/she works in e.g. in regulated industries like financial services.

When an employee provides a reference, the reference must be true, accurate, fair and not misleading. Employers are not meant to use the reference as a way to victimize the former employee or settle scores. Where a false or vindictive reference is provided, the employee could sue the employer.

Medical Testing
Nigerian law allows employers to conduct medical examination on employees by a registered medical practitioner. The purpose of the testing is to determine the fitness of the employee for the particular job, and also because certain types of jobs may require testing for prohibited substances or infectious diseases.

So, employers are permitted to request those tests – where the circumstances of the job requires it. However, one testing which is specifically prohibited is testing for HIV/AIDS – either as a precondition for employment or during the course of employment. Any such request is illegal and an offence under the HIV Anti-Discrimination Act 2014.

Mandatory Obligations of Employers

Personal Income Tax (PIT): Employers have an obligation to deduct PIT from the taxable income component of the gross emoluments of their taxable employees under the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) scheme. Gross emoluments refer to all income that an employee receives from an employer, however characterized.

Contributory Pension Scheme: An employer with 15 or more employees is required to participate in the Nigerian contributory pension scheme in which defined contributions have to be made by the employer and employee to the employee’s retirement savings account (RSA).

The obligation of collecting and remitting the contributions is on the employer. The employer is to incur the cost of a minimum of 10% of the monthly gross income of its employee, while a minimum 8% of the month gross income of the employee is to be deducted from his gross income. The contribution and deduction are together to be remitted into the employee’s RSA.

National Housing Fund (NHF) Contribution: An employer is required to deduct 2.5% of the basic monthly salary of an employee and remit it into the employee’s NHF Contribution Account maintained with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

Employees’ Compensation Scheme (ECS) Levy: An employer is required to contribute 1% or such other percentage of its monthly payroll as may be assessed by the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to the ECS. The contribution to the ECS is an employer tax as it is borne by the employer.

Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Contribution: An employer with 5 or more employees or with an annual turnover exceeding N50million is required to contribute 1% of its annual payroll into to the ITF. Payroll for this purpose is the sum of all basic pay allowances and other entitlements payable within and outside Nigeria to all employees, irrespective of their nationality, duration and other terms of employment.

Development Levy: A development levy of N100 is annually payable by an employer in respect of each employee maintained by the employer during the year to the IRS of the State where the employee is resident.

As you can see, Nigeria does have quite extensive laws that protect workers – the problem is that many people are not aware of these laws and so they do not try to enforce them.


Culled From LAWPADI

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