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Understanding the Nigeria Employment Laws

Just like how every institution in Nigeria has laws guiding them, so does the act of employing and being an employee ...

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Understanding the Nigeria Employment Laws
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Just like how every institution in Nigeria has laws guiding them, so does the act of employing and being an employee have laws guiding them as well. Employment is more than just finding a job,  resuming the next day, and earning a salary. What are the chances that you’ll be paid by the end of the month and what guarantees a seamless employment period?


The Nigerian labour act covers extensively every loophole that could arise from being employed or being an employer. Part 1 of the Nigerian labour act, contains general provisions as to the protection of wages, contracts of employment, and terms and conditions of employment.


Protection of wages

No worker would appreciate any incessant deduction from salaries, especially deductions not previously stated in an employment contract. The idea of this section in the labour act is to protect a worker’s wages from an employer. According to Part 1, section 5 of the labour act;

  • No employer shall make any deductions or make any agreement or contract with a worker for any deductions from the wages to be paid by the employer to the worker or for any payment to the employer by the worker.


This law can be nullified for the following reasons;

  • If the worker has caused some sort of injury or loss to the employee by virtue of misconduct or neglect by the worker.
  • If the employer gets the worker’s consent to make deductions for pension funds or other schemes agreed to by the worker and approved by the state authority.


Contracts of employment

Having an employment contract is very important. This should be the first step towards being gainfully employed in any organization. According to section 7 of the labour act, a contract must be given to an employee, no later than 3 months after the resumption. An employment contract lists all the agreements between an employee and employer and helps either of the parties to file for legal action 

if anyone contradicts the contract. 


How to write an employment contract

According to the labour act, a contract should contain;


  • The name of the employer or group of employers and where appropriate, the undertaking by which the worker is employed.
  • The name and address of the worker and the place and date of his engagement
  • The nature of the employment
  • If the contract is for a fixed term, the date the contract is to expire
  • The appropriate period of notice to be given by the party wishing to terminate the contract
  • The rates of wages, and method of calculation thereof, and the manner and periodicity of payment of wages
  • Any terms and conditions relating to; hours of work, holidays and holiday pay, incapacity for work due to sickness or injury.



Terms and conditions of employment

There are generally accepted terms and conditions as instituted by the law in Nigeria which means that there are certain things an employer does not have the right to do and they are certain privileges every employee should have. 


Termination of contract; 

  • Either party to a contract of employment may terminate the contract on the expiration of a notice given by him to the other party of his intention to do so; The notice should be given;
  • One day; if the contract has lasted for a period of 3 months.
  • One week; if the contract has lasted for more than 3 months but less than 2 years.
  • Two weeks; if the contract has continued for more than 2 years but less than 5years.
  • One month; if the contract has continued for 5 years or more.


Work Hours


  • Normal hours of work in any undertaking shall be fixed by;
  1. Mutual agreement or 
  2. Collective bargaining within the organization or industry concerned  or
  3. An industrial wages board (established by or under an enactment providing for the establishment of such boards) where there is no machinery for collective bargaining.


  • If a worker works more than the stipulated hours agreed in the contract, that constitutes over time and should be paid.
  • If a worker is required to travel sixteen kilometers or more from his normal place of work to another worksite, he shall be entitled to free transport
  • If the employee decides to provide a vehicle, then the vehicle must be in good shape.
  • According to the labour act, every worker shall be entitled after twelve months of continuous service to a holiday with full pay of at least 6 working days.


These are some of the laws guiding employment in Nigeria. Hopefully, this helps you make more informed decisions when accepting job roles or when employing a worker.



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