A bill to forbid underpayment of wages, pensions, and other emoluments, as well as late payment of salary, has passed the House of Representatives for second reading.
Following the discussion of the law’s overarching principles, the second reading of the bill supported by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, was approved on Tuesday.
The measure aims to make it illegal for workers to owe wages and other benefits. Such employers are subject to the punishments outlined in the statute. For instance, if wages are unpaid for more than 60 days, the employer faces a 30-day jail sentence.
The bill’s Section 2 states that “Every employer of labor 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 delay weekly, fortnightly monthly, quarterly or yearly as may be agreed by parties in the contract of employment of the additional individuals”
In addition, the bill forbids using an unfair or severe deduction as punishment for an employee’s negligence or damage.
Section 3(1) states “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 any payment to the employer by the workman for in respect of bad negligent work or injury to the material or property of the employer or in respect of any fine.”
As there was no debate, the bill was forwarded to the committee of the whole.