House of Reps Move Against Late, Non-Payment of Salaries, Pensions by Employers, Bill Passes Second Reading

House of Reps Move Against Late, Non-Payment of Salaries, Pensions by Employers, Bill Passes Second Reading

  • The House of Representatives has moved against employers who are in the habit of not paying wages or workers in time or non-payment
  • A bill seeking to ban the practice, introduced by Speaker of the House Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, has scaled second reading
  • The bill, when passed, will prescribe that employers who delay or refuse to pay salaries and pensions would pay interest within 60 days

Nigeria's lower legislative chamber, the House of Representatives, has passed for second reading a bill seeking to ban late and non-payment of workers' salaries and pensions by labour employers in Nigeria.

Also, employees whose salaries have been delayed or not paid are entitled to interest on unpaid wages.

Femi Gbajabiamila, House of Reps
Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila Credit: Gbajabiamila
Source: Facebook

Bill on track for speedy passage

The proposed law would also ban underpayment of workers' salaries and pensions.

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The bill titled, 'A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Late, Non-Payment, and Underpayment of Workers' Wages and Other Emolument in Nigeria', prescribes penalties for violations.

The Punch reports that the law passed second reading on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

House of Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila proposed the bill at the last National Assembly, but it was recalled for reconsideration by the 9th Assembly. As a result, the House passed the first reading in July 2019.

Gbajabiamila said the bill seeks to provide for the ban of late payment, non-payment, and underpayment of workers' wages in Nigeria and prescribes punishment for breaches and other issues.

The law prescribes that in case of a breach concerning other monetary benefits separate from the monthly pension, the fine shall be 30 percent of such financial benefits for that period.

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Gbajabiamila further suggested a time frame and penalty schedule for unpaid wages or pensions if the employer or employee breached the law for more than two months.

The bill partly reads, "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any Act or any other enactment or law, the provision of this Act shall apply to all matters about payment of wages, pension, benefits and other emoluments by employers to workers in Nigerian.

What the bill says

"Every employer of labour in Nigeria, whether private or public; and whether it is employing any worker on permanent or contract basis, must ensure that all payment of wages, salaries, pension and all benefits to workers are paid promptly without any delay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly as may be agreed by parties in the contract of employment of the individual employee.

"(1) An employer is prohibited from entering into any contract with any workman for any deduction from the sum contracted to be paid by the employer to the workman, or for any payment to the employer by the workman for or in respect of inadequate or negligent work or injury to the material or other property of the employer or respect of any fine unless.

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"(a) The terms of the contract contained in a notice kept constantly affixed at such place or places open to the workman and in such a position that it should be seen easily read and copied by any person whom it affects, or the contract is in writing signed by the workman.

Nigerian workers suffering

Nigerian workers have been plagued by late or non-payment of salaries for ages as ruthless employers exploit the lack of legislation prohibiting the practice in the country.

In some instances, workers are owed for months and even years, and most cases are continuously thrown out at the industrial courts when they become status barred.

NNPC denies allegations by House of Reps of operating secret accounts reported that the House Representatives have been probing the joint venture Businesses and Production Sharing Contracts of the NNPC in the last 32 years and said it found a secret account operated by the company in violation of due process.

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According to a Guardian report, an official of the office of accountant General of the Federation, Chize Peters, disclosed this before the House’ Adhoc committee probing the issue.

Peters said the firm operates the accounts with the Accountant General’s oOffice. He said the funds are with the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the proceeds are paid into the federation account.


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