The Nigerian Labour Laws: Do They Really Hold Water

The purpose of setting up the Nigerian labour laws is to protect the rights of the Nigerian worker. The law also seeks to ensure better working conditions for him/her while also ensuring he/she gets paid the right minimum wage. This ensures the worker benefits from all legal dictates relating to labour in Nigeria and ensures he/she is taken through the right processes in the event his/her appointment gets terminated. The Nigeria labour law being used today was established in 2004. This write up is put together to assess the Nigerian labour law and its effectiveness in the Nigerian labour market.


Origins of the Nigerian labour law

The Nigerian labour law originates from a number of sources and they are highlighted below:
• The Labour Act, 2004
• The Pension Reform Act, 2014
• The National Minimum Wage Act, 2011
• The Employees Compensation Act, 2010
• The Trade Union Amended Act, 2005
• The Trade Disputes Act, 2004
• The Pension Act, 2004
• The Factory Act, 2004.


Workers’ rights

The Nigerian worker has the following rights as highlighted below:
• Right to wages
• Right to pension
• Right to leave
• Right to transportation
• Right to housing fund and
• Right to proper termination process

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How effective are these rights?

Do not forget that the Nigerian worker does not only refer to the federal government worker alone; rather, it encompasses all Nigerian workers be it at federal, state, local government levels and also workers in private organizations.

Minimum wage in Nigeria as at 2004 was set at N5,500.00 per month. It was reviewed upward via the National Minimum Wage Act, 2011 to N18,000.00 per month. The minimum wage rules however exempt any organization with less than 50 individuals in its employment; such organization may pay less or more as minimum wage, depending on its financial states. Though, one wonders if increment in minimum wage is the actual solution to the Nigerians’ workers economic plight. A school of thought believes it is better to curb corruption, since such will better the lot of the Nigerian worker and will increase the value of his/her take-home pay, no matter how seemingly small such pay may be.

The Nigerian worker is supposed to go on pension after years of dedicated services, as provided for in the Pension Act, 2004. This brought about the establishment of the contributory pension scheme in which both the worker and the establishment contribute on periodic basis to the pension of the worker. After retirement, the worker starts collecting the amount contributed as pension for his/ her lifetime. However, is the money contributed ever enough to pay the bills for the retired person for his/her life time? This is yet another factor that questions the effectiveness of this aspect of the Nigeria labour law.

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The Nigerian employee has the right to “leave” after some months of continuous service. He/she equally has the right to sick leave in the event he/she falls sick in the course of service delivery. Maternity leave is yet another form of leave given to pregnant workers. This is one aspect of the Nigerian labour law that has been consistently effective in government establishments. However, it is not effective in the least with many privately owned establishments.

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