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 act that governs employment relationships is the Public Holidays Act, 1979.
Hours & Pay Regulations
The Nigerian labour 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 (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 13.
An employer shall maintain a correct record consisting of employee’s, wages and conditions of employment, employees at or in connection with that place of business for a period of 3 years from the date of entering such record. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 75.
Any work performed 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 legislation. Overtime rates shall be decided between the employer and employee and are mentioned in the employment agreement. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), § 13.
Night work for employees in industrial undertakings is considered as a period of 11 consecutive hours (can be reduced up to 10 hours in certain cases) which shall include 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. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 55
An employer shall provide employees 1 or more suitably spaced rest intervals of not less than 1 hour in aggregate to employees who have 6 or more working hours in a day. If the employee is engaged in work of continuous nature etc, in such cases 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. The break period is unpaid.
Rest-interval means an interruption of work of which the length is fixed beforehand and during which the employee is free to dispose of the time and is not required to remain at the place of work. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 13(3).
An employee shall be provided 1 day of rest which shall not be less than 24 consecutive 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 calculated from the day on which such work was performed or wages at overtime rate shall be provided in lieu thereof. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 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.
The government authority may in certain circumstances declare any such public holiday from the above list not to be a public holiday and may instead appoint any other day as a public holiday. 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 after 12 months of continuous service, be entitled to leave 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 postponed by agreement between the employer and the employee, however, that the holiday-earning period shall not extend beyond 24 months’ continuous service and the employee must take the annual leave within the 24 months period time frame.
Calculation of Pay
For the purpose of calculation of annual leave pay, the employee shall be paid the wages which they receive in money (excluding any overtime premium and other allowance) which shall be considered as annual leave pay.
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
- No less than 6 months in the continuous employment of an employer since the employee last qualified for a holiday.
shall be paid a pro-rata amount for accrued annual leave. 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 leave for up to 12 working days in any 1 calendar year due to temporary illness certified by a registered medical practitioner.
Calculation of leave pay and sickness benefits
For the purpose of calculation of sick leave pay, the employee shall be paid the wages which they receive in money (excluding any overtime premium and other allowance) which shall be considered as sick leave pay. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 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 that the employee would have earned if not been absent.
A female employee is entitled to 2 paid half an hour breaks during working hours for nursing her child. Labour Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2004, § 54.
Last updated on: November 12th, 2021