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In establishing any organizational endeavor, an employment contract must be
drawn up. In Nigeria, the employment relationship is governed primarily by the
sources of employment laws in the country. A proper understanding of the laws
that govern an employment relationship and adherence to laws that guide
employees’ rights and employers’obligations, can protect the company from
serious human rights violations.

This article provides a guide to laws governing the employment relationship
in Nigeria, from the sources of the law, the scope of the law, to the tenets of
a typical employment contract.

There are two(2) broad categories of employees in Nigeria, namely:

·       
“Workers”, defined under the Labour Act as those “who are
generally employees who perform manual labour or clerical work”; and

·       
“Employees”, who perform administrative, executive, technical or
professional functions (referred to as “Non-workers”).

 

THE SOURCES OF EMPLOYMENT LAW IN
NIGERIA.

The sources of employment law in Nigeria are:

a.    
The
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), referred to
as “the Constitution”.

b.    
The
Labour Act Chapter L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (“Labour Act”),
which prescribes the minimum terms and conditions for employment for workers as defined above. As stipulated
by the Labour act of Nigeria, the details of an employment relationship between
workers and employers should be stipulated in a contract. The Nigerian Labour
Law provides a detailed look into the rights, conditions, minimum wage and many
other tenets set by the Nigerian Government. The current version of the act was
enacted in 2004.

c.     
The
Federal laws enacted by the National Assembly (Nigeria’s national legislative
houses) and the State laws enacted by the House of Assembly (the State
legislative authority) of each state, that relate to labour and employment,
pension and workplace compensation, including the following:

      
Guidelines
for the Release of Staff in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry, 2019.

      
Employees
Compensation Act 2010

      
Factories
Act FI, LFN 2004

      
Industrial
Training Fund Chapter 19, LFN 2004 (as amended)

      
National
Health Insurance Scheme Act, Chapter N45, LFN 2004

      
National
Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010

      
Pension
Reform Act 2014

      
Personal
Income Tax Act P8, LFN 2004 as amended by the Trade Union (Amendment) Act 2011

      
Trade
Disputes Act, Chapter T8, LFN 2004

      
Trade
Unions Act, Chapter T14, LFN 2004 as amended by the Trade Union (Amendment) Act
2005

      
Nigeria
Data Protection Regulation 2019 issued by the National Information Technology
Development Agency.

d.   
Decisions
of the Nigeria courts – case law, and

e.    
International
conventions, treaties and protocols relating to labour, employment, workplace,
industrial relations or matters that connect, which have been ratified by
Nigeria.

 

SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF THE SOURCES
OF LABOUR LAW

    
The Labour
Act, which is limited in its scope of application as it regulates only the
employment of workers as defined above.

    
The
Constitution, the NICN Act, the Trade Union Act and the Personal Income Tax Act
apply to all categories of employees, with some exceptions.

    
The
Pension Reform Act 2014 applies to all employees in the private sector, other
than judges, members of the armed forces and the intelligent and secret
services.

    
The
Employees Cooperation Act applies to all employees other than members of the armed
forces (although it applies to members of the armed forces employed in a
civilian capacity)

    
The
Industrial Training Fund Act applies to every employer in Nigeria which employs
more than 5 persons, or which employs fewer than 5 persons, but has an annual
turnover of up to 50 million naira.

    
The
National Health Insurance Scheme Act applies to employers which have a minimum
of 10 employees.

    
The
Immigration Act 2015 applies to employers which employ foreign nationals and to
expatriate employees.

 

TENETS IN AN EMPLOYEE CONTRACT

1.    
The
name of the employer and the undertaking where the employee is employed;

2.    
The
name and address of the worker;

3.    
The
date of engagement;

4.    
The
nature of employment;

5.    
If the
contract is for a fixed term, expiration date should be stated;

6.    
The
period of notice for termination;

7.    
The
rates of wages and method of calculation;

8.    
The
manner and periodicity of payment of wages;

9.    
Terms
and conditions relating to hours of work, holidays and holiday pay, incapacity
for work due to sickness or injury including any provisions for sick pay; and

10. Any special conditions of the contract.

 

*Special conditions include
Provision of Transport, Annual holidays, Collective Agreements operative in the
Industry or sector and other requirements as the employer may deem fit or as
the employer’s duties may require.

 

TERMINATING THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT

It is required that employers be given notice of termination of their
employment or salary in lieu of such notice.

 

    
The
minimum notice period for workers as
defined above in the Labour Act are as follows:

1)   
One
day, if the length of the service is up to 3 months.

2)   
One
week, if the length of service is up to 2 years.

3)   
Two
weeks, if the length of service is up to 5 years.

4)   
One
month, if the length of the service is 5 years or more.

    
It is
agreeable for parties to agree to longer notice periods in their contracts of
employment.

    
Regarding
employees
as defined above, the applicable notice period is determined by the terms of
their respective contracts of employment.

 

 

Written by:

Oluchi Atoyebi (Mrs.)

Mrs. Oluchi Lynda Atoyebi, is the Principal Partner
and CEO of Eclat Human Resources Consulting Limited. She is a seasoned human
resource executive with several years of progressive experience in developing
and executing comprehensive management strategies and structures across
industries. She has achieved great results through using a people-first system.
Mrs Oluchi Lynda Atoyebi has her certifications in Human Resource Management under
the institutes of Chartered Institute of Management (CIPM) an MBA in Human
Resource Management from the prestigious Nile University of Nigeria with her
first degree in Political Science from the esteemed Amadu Bello University
(ABU), she has held several executive and consulting positions and she is
currently the Human Resource Director of Omaplex Law Firm, the fastest growing
and pacesetting law firm in Nigeria.

With several professional certifications in HR and
Etiquette, Mrs. Oluchi Atoyebi is driven by the passion to impact the
lives of people positively by helping to build the capacity to become
employable locally and internationally.

This passion led to the establishment of Eclat Human
Resources Consulting Limited which is focused
on enabling individuals and corporate bodies achieve their desired outcome
through the provision of workable systems, structures, and people.