The Labour Law in Nigeria is regulated mainly by the Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004). The Labour Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. The other acts that govern employment relationships are the Employees’ Compensation Act 2010, Public Holidays Act, 1979, etc.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Nigerian law does not have defined working hours for employees. Working hours are set by an agreement between employer and employee, or if applicable, by collective bargaining or an industrial wage board. Labour Act, § 13.
An employer shall maintain a correct record consisting of employee’s working hours, wages, payroll records, etc of each of his/her employees at or in connection with that place of business for a period of 3 years after the time to which they refer. Labour Act, § 75.
An employee who performs work beyond the set hours as may be agreed in the employment agreement, or as the case may be via collective agreement, etc, is considered as overtime.
There is no particular overtime payment provided in the Labour code. Overtime rates shall be decided between the employer and employee and are mentioned in the employment agreement. Labour Act, § 13.
Night work for women employees in industrial undertakings is considered as a period of 11 consecutive hours (can be reduced up to 10 hours in certain cases) including the time between 10 pm to 5 am. In the case of agricultural undertakings, night work is a period of 9 consecutive hours including the interval between 9 pm to 4 am.
Night work is considered as a period of at least 12 consecutive hours, including-
- In the case of young persons under the age of sixteen years, the interval between 10 pm and 6 am; and
- In the case of young persons over the age of sixteen years but under the age of eighteen years, a prescribed interval of at least 7 consecutive hours falling between 10 pm and 7 am.
Labour Act, § 55 and 60.
An employer shall provide employees 1 or more suitably spaced rest-intervals of not less than 1 hour in aggregate after 6 hours of work or more. If the employee is engaged in work of continuous nature etc, in such case the employee shall be allowed to take small breaks for meals during working hours and such interruption at work shall not be counted as rest interval or time off.
Rest-interval means an interruption of work of which the length is fixed beforehand and during which the employee is free to dispose of his time and is not required to remain at the place of work. Labour Act, § 13(3).
A female employee is entitled to two half an hour breaks during working hours for nursing her child.
An employee shall be provided 1 day of rest which shall not be less than 24 hours in every period of 7 days.
In cases of reduction in weekly rest, a compensatory off from work shall be provided at the earliest and shall in no case be provided later than 14 days or wages at overtime rate shall be provided in lieu thereof. Labour Act, § 13(7).
Employees are entitled to the following 9 public holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Workers’ Day (1st May).
- National Day (1st October).
- Christmas Day
- Such day as the government authority may declare to be a public holiday in celebration of the Muslim festival of Id el Fitr.
- Such a day as the government authority may declare to be a public holiday in celebration of the Muslim festival of Id el Kabir.
- Such a day as the government authority may declare to be a public holiday in celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed (Id el Maulud).
In addition to the days mentioned above, the government authority may appoint a special day to be kept as a public holiday either throughout Nigeria or in any part thereof. In certain situations, where the day declared as a public holiday is not the actual day of the religious festival, the employee is allowed to take a day off on an actual day to perform the religious festival.
Days to be kept as public holidays when public holidays fall on Fridays to Mondays
- If two days appointed as public holidays fall successively on a Friday and a Saturday, only the Friday concerned and no additional day in lieu of that Saturday shall be kept as a public holiday.
- If any day appointed to be a public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, only the Saturday or Sunday concerned and no other day in lieu of either of such days shall be kept as a public holiday.
- Two days appointed as public holidays fall successively on a Saturday and Sunday, only the Saturday and Sunday concerned and no additional day or days in lieu of the Saturday and Sunday shall be kept as public holidays; and
- If two days appointed as public holidays fall successively on a Sunday and a Monday, only the Monday concerned and no additional day in lieu of that Sunday shall be kept as a public holiday.
Public Holidays Act, § 1 – 7.
An employee shall be entitled after 12 months of continuous service to a holiday with full pay of-
- At least 6 working days; or
- In the case of a person under the age of 16 years (including an apprentice) at least 12 working days.
The holiday may be deferred by agreement between the employer and the employee, provided that the holiday-earning period shall not be increased beyond 24 months’ continuous service.
Calculation of Pay
In the calculation of leave pay, only that part of an employee’s wages which he/she receives in money (excluding overtime and other allowances) shall be considered.
Vacation Pay upon Termination
An employee whose employment terminates after completing –
- Less than 12 but not less than 6 months in the continuous employment of an employer; or
- Not less than 6 months in the continuous employment of an employer since he/she last qualified for a holiday.
shall be paid with respect to that period of employment an amount bearing the same proportion to full pay for one week at his normal rate as that period bears to 12 months. Labour Act, § 18 – 19.
Effective November 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Nigeria is 30000 NGN/Month.
An employee shall be entitled to be paid wages up to 12 working days in any one calendar year during absence from work caused by temporary illness.
Calculation of Leave pay and sickness benefits
In the calculation of sickness benefits only that part of his wages which an employee receives in money (excluding overtime and other allowances) shall be taken into account. Labor Act, § 16 and 19.
A pregnant employee is entitled to 12 weeks of paid leave. Out of this 12-week period, 6-week leave is taken after delivery. The leave may begin 6 weeks before delivery after providing a medical certificate from a registered practitioner confirming that the delivery may take place within 6 weeks.
Pay – Employees who have at least 6 months of continuous service with the employer are entitled to not less than 50 percent of the wages she would have earned if she had not been absent.
Any person, who, being the proprietor, owner or manager of any industrial, commercial or agricultural undertaking, does not provide the leave shall be guilty of an offense and on conviction shall be liable to a fine not exceeding N200 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both. Labor Act, § 54.
Last updated on: December 28th, 2020