LABOUR ACT CAP. 198 L.F.N. 1990 ACT CAP. L1 L.F.N. 2004

LABOUR ACT CAP.198 LFN 1990 ACT CAP. L1 L.F.N. 2004

Labour Act Cap.198 LFN 1990 COMMENCEMENT 1/8/711

1 Subsidiary Legislation - Labour Regulations L.N. 38 1936; Dock Labour (Registration and Control of employment) Rules L.N. 39 1967; Dock Labour (Registration and Control of employment) Rules (Application) Declaration L.N. 15 1971

Arrangement of Sections

Part I - General Provisions as to protection of wages, contracts of employment and terms and conditions of employment

Protection of wages
1. Manner of payment.
2. Agreement as to place and manner of spending wages illegal.
3. Wages not to be paid on certain premises.
4. Advances.
5. Deductions (including deductions for over-payment of wages).
6. Authority of employer to open shop.

Contracts of employment
7. Written particulars of terms of employment.
8. Medical examination.
9. Contracts: general.
10. Transfer to other employment.
11. Termination of contracts by notice.
12. Common employment not a defence.

Terms and conditions of employment
13. Hours of work and overtime.
14. Provision of transport.
15. Periodicity of payment of wages.
16. Sick leave.
17. Duty of employer to provide work.
18. Annual holidays with pay.
19. Calculation of leave pay and sickness benefits.
20. Redundancy.

General
21. Offences.
22. Exemptions.

PART II -RECRUITING

Recruiters and recruiting generally
23. Prohibition of recruiting except under permit or licence.
24. Employer's permit.
25. Recruiter's licence.
26. Restrictions on recruiting.
27. Recruiting: miscellaneous provisions.
28. Health.
29. Transport.
30. Expenses and maintenance.
31. Repatriation.
32. Capitation fee.

Recruiting for employment in Nigeria
33. Procedural requirements.
34. Right to be accompanied by family.
35. Deferment of wages.

Recruiting for employment outside Nigeria

36. Power of prohibition.
37. International agreements.
38. Duration of contract and return passages.
39. Procedure prior to leaving Nigeria.
40. Special terms and conditions of contract.
41. Surrender of permits.
42. Embarkation check.
43. Exemption from customs on repatriation.
44. Right to be accompanied by family at employer's expense.

Enforcement provisions
45. Inducing recruiting by fraud, etc.
46. Neglect or ill-treatment.
47. Other offences.

Application
48. Application.

PART III - SPECIAL CLASSES OF WORKER AND MISCELLANEOUS SPECIAL PROVISIONS

Apprentices
49. Contracts of apprenticeship.
50. Attestation.
51. Retention of apprentice after expiry of contract.
52. Regulations.
53. Offences.

Employment of women
54. Maternity protection.
55. Night work.
56. Underground work.
57. Regulations.
58. Offences.

Young persons
59. General.
60. Night work.
61. Shipping.
62. Register of young persons in industrial undertakings.
63. Regulations.
64. Offences.

Domestic service
65. Regulations.

Labour health areas
66. Labour health areas.
67. Regulations.

Registration, employment exchanges, etc.
68. Registration of employers.
69. Labour schemes.
70. Employment exchanges.
71. Fee-charging employment agencies.

72. Offences.

Forced labour
73. Prohibition of forced labour.
74. Labour required in emergencies and for communal obligations.

PART IV - SUPPLEMENTAL

Records and returns
75. Records.
76. Returns.

Administration
77. Authorized labour offices.
78. Powers of authorized labour officers.
79. Delegation of functions.

Settlement of disputes
80. Jurisdiction.
81. Labour complaints.
82. Powers of the court.
83. Procedure.
84. Compensation, and provision of food.
85. Costs.

Miscellaneous
86. Application to public authorities.
87. Contracts made abroad.
88. Regulations.
89. Savings and exemptions.
90. Repeal, and transitional and saving provisions.
91. Interpretation.
92. Short title.

SCHEDULE
TRANSITIONAL AND SAVING PROVISIONS

An Act to repeal and replace the Labour Code Act and consolidate the law relating to labour

Part I - General provisions as to protection of wages, contracts of employment and terms and conditions of employment

Protection of wages
Manner of payment
1. (1) Subject to this section-
(a) the wages of a worker shall in all contracts be made payable in legal tender and not otherwise; and

(b) if in any contract the whole or any part of the wages of a worker is made payable in any other manner the contract shall be illegal, null and void.

(2) An employer may provide food, a dwelling place or any other allowance or privilege as a part of a worker's remuneration if the food, dwelling place, allowance or privilege is prescribed by law, by a collective agreement or by an arbitration award because it is customary or desirable in view of the nature of the industry or occupation in which the worker is engaged; but in no case shall an employer give to any worker any intoxicating liquor or noxious drug by way of remuneration.

(3) Except where otherwise expressly permitted by this Act, wages payable in money shall be paid only in legal tender or, with the prior consent in writing of the worker concerned, by cheque or postal order and payment or purported payment in any other form shall be illegal, null and void.

Agreement as to place and manner of spending wages illegal
2. No employer shall impose in any contract for the employment of any worker any terms as to the place at which, or the manner in which, or the person with whom any wages paid to the worker are to be expended; and every contract between an employer and a worker containing any such terms shall be illegal, null and void.

Wages not to be paid on certain premises
3. Wages shall not be paid to a worker in premises used for the sale of intoxicating liquor or for the retail sale of goods, except in the case of a worker employed on the premises.

Advances
4. (1) No employer may make to a worker an advance of wages in excess of one month's wages.

(2) Where an advance in respect of wages has been paid to a worker the minimum period for the recovery of the advance by the employer shall be three months.

(3) No advance in respect of wages shall be paid to a worker who is liable to repay any part of such an advance paid to him previously, except in cases of necessity as so approved by the employer.

(4) No employer shall make any deduction by way of discount, interest or any similar charge on account of any advance of wages paid to a worker in anticipation of the regular period of payment of the wages.

(5) The State Authority may by order declare that this section shall not apply to any particular kind of advance paid to any particular class of worker or to all workers.

Deductions (including deductions for over-payment of wages)
5. (1) Except where it is expressly permitted by this Act or any other law, no employer shall make any deduction or make any agreement or contract with a worker for any deduction from the wages to be paid by the employer to the worker, or for any payment to the employer by the worker, for or in respect of any fines:

Provided that, with the prior consent in writing of an authorized labour officer, a reasonable deduction may be made in respect of injury or loss caused to the employer by the willful misconduct or neglect of the worker.

(2) An employer may with the consent of a worker make deductions from the wages of the worker and pay to the appropriate person any contributions to provident or pension funds or other schemes agreed to by the worker and approved by the State Authority.

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(3) Upon the registration and recognition of any of the trade union specified in Part A of Schedule 3 to the Trade Unions Act, the employer shall-
(a) make deductions from the wages of all workers eligible to be members of the union for the purpose of paying contributions to the trade union so recognised; and

(b) pay any sum so deducted to the union,

but a worker may contract out of the system, in writing, and where he has done so, no deductions shall be made from his wages in respect of contributions mentioned in paragraph (a) of this section.

(4) No deductions shall be made from the wages and salaries of persons who are eligible members of any of the trade unions specified in Part B of the Schedule 3 to the Trade Unions Act except the person concerned has accepted, in writing, to make voluntary contributions to the trade union.

(5) Deductions may be made from the wages of a worker in respect of overpayment of wages, but only in respect of any such overpayment made during the three months immediately preceding the month in which the overpayment was discovered.

(6) An employer shall, when making a payment to a trade union under paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of this section, include with such payment a list of the employees from whom deductions were made pursuant to paragraph (c) of the said subsection.

(7) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total amount of deductions that may be made from the wages of a worker in any one month shall not exceed one-third of the wages of the worker for that month.

Authority of employer to open shop
6. (1) The Minister may, after consultation with the State Authority, give approval to an employer to establish a shop for the sale of provisions to his workers, but no worker shall be compelled by any contract or agreement, written or oral, to purchase provisions at any shop so established.

(2) No employer shall in any place of employment establish a shop for the sale of provisions to his workers (or permit such a shop to be established or kept) otherwise than in accordance with subsection (1) of this section.

Contracts of employment

Written particulars of terms of employment
7. (1) Not later than three months after the beginning of a worker's period of employment with an employer, the employer shall give to the worker a written statement specifying-
(a) the name of the employer or group of employers, and where appropriate, of the undertaking by which the worker is employed;

(b) the name and address of the worker and the place and date of his engagement;

(c) the nature of the employment;

(d) if the contract is for a fixed term, the date when the contract expires;

(e) the appropriate period of notice to be given by the party wishing to terminate the contract, due regard being had to section 11 of this Act;

(f) the rates of wages and method of calculation thereof and the manner and periodicity of payment of wages;

(g) any terms and conditions relating to-
(i) hours of work, or
(ii) holidays and holiday pay, or
(iii) incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provisions for sick pay; and

(h) any special conditions of the contract.

(2) If after the date to which the said statement relates there is a change in the terms to be included or referred to in the statement the employer-
(a) shall, not more than one month after the change, inform the worker of the nature of the change by a written statement; and
(b) if he does not leave a copy of the statement with the worker, shall preserve the statement and ensure that the worker has reasonable opportunities of reading it in the course of his employment, or that it is made reasonably accessible to the worker in some other way.

(3) A statement under subsection (1) or (2) of this section may, for all or any of the particulars to be given by the statement, refer the worker to some other document which the worker has reasonable opportunities of reading in the course of his employment or which is made reasonably accessible to the worker in some other way.

(4) If the employer, in referring in the said statement to any such document, indicates to the worker that future changes in the terms particularized in the document will be entered in the document (or recorded by some other means for the information of persons referred to in the document), the employer need not under subsection (2) of this section inform the worker of any such change which is duly entered or recorded not more than one month after the change is made.

(5) If, not more than six months after the termination of a worker's period of employment, a further period of employment is begun with the same employer and the terms of employment are the same, no statement need be given under subsection (1) of this section in respect of the second period of employment, so however that this subsection shall be without prejudice to the operation of subsection (2) of this section if there is a change in the terms of employment.

(6) The provisions of this section in respect of written statements shall not apply if-
(a) a worker has a written contract of employment which covers each of the particulars mentioned in subsection (1) of this section; and

(b) he has a copy of that written contract.

Medical examination
8. (1) Every worker who enters into a contract shall be medically examined by a registered medical practitioner at the expense of the employer.

(2) The State Authority may by order exempt for the requirement of medical examination workers entering into contracts for-

(a) employment in agricultural undertakings not employing more than a limited number of workers (the limit being specified in the order); or

(b) employment in the vicinity of the workers' homes-
(i) in agricultural work, or
(ii) in non-agricultural work which the State Authority is satisfied is not of a dangerous character or likely to be injurious to the health of the workers.

Contracts: Illegal
9. (1) No contract shall be deemed to be binding on the family or dependants of a worker unless it contains an express provision to that effect.

(2) An employer shall be responsible for the performance of any contract made by any person acting on his behalf.

(3) Except in the case of a contract of apprenticeship, no person under the age of sixteen years shall be capable of entering into a contract of employment under this Act.

(4) No contract shall provide for the payment of wages at intervals exceeding one month unless the written consent of the State Authority has been previously obtained.

(5) No worker shall be bound by virtue of any contract under this Act to answer for the debt, default or miscarriage of any other person.

(6) No contract shall-
(a) make it a condition of employment that a worker shall or shall not join a trade union or shall or shall not relinquish membership of a trade union; or

(b) cause the dismissal of, or otherwise prejudice, a worker-
(i) by reason of trade union membership, or
(ii) because of trade union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours, or
(iii) by reason of the fact that he has lost or been deprived of membership of a trade union or has refused or been unable to become, or for any other reason is not, a member of a trade union.

(7) A contract shall be terminated-
(a) by the expiry of the period for which it was made; or

(b) by the death of the worker before the expiry of that period; or

(c) by notice in accordance with section 11 of this Act or in any other way in which a contract is legally terminable or held to be terminated.

(8) The termination of a contract by the death of a worker shall be without prejudice to the legal claims of his personal representatives or dependants.

Transfer to other employment
10. (1) The transfer of any contract from one employer to another shall be subject to the consent of the worker and the endorsement of the transfer upon the contract by an authorized labour officer.

(2) Before endorsing the transfer upon the contract, the officer in question-

(a) shall ascertain that the worker has freely consented to the transfer and that his consent has not been obtained by coercion or undue influence or as a result of misrepresentation or mistake; and
(b) if by the transfer the worker will-
(i) change his form of employment from one which is the subject of an exemption order made under section 8 (2) of this Act, or

(ii) be subject to such a change of conditions as in the officer's opinion renders such a course advisable, may require the worker to be medically examined or re-examined, as the case may be.

Termination of contracts by notice
11. (1) Either party to a contract of employment may terminate the contract on the expiration of notice given by him to the other party of his intention to do so.

(2) The notice to be given for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section shall be-
(a) one day, where the contract has continued for a period of three months or less;

(b) one week, where the contract has continued for more than three months but less than two years;

(c) two weeks, where the contract has continued for a period of two years but less than five years; and

(d) one month, where the contract has continued for five years or more.

(3) Any notice for a period of one week or more shall be in writing.

(4) The periods of notice specified in subsection (2) of this section exclude the day on which notice is given.

(5) Nothing in this section affects any right of either party to a contract to treat the contract as terminable without notice by reason of such conduct by the other party as would have enabled him so to treat it before the making of this Act.

(6) Nothing in this section shall prevent either party to a contract from waiving his right to notice on any occasion, or from accepting a payment in lieu of notice.

(7) All wages payable in money shall be paid on or before the expiry of any period of notice.

(8) If an employer gives notice to terminate the contract of employment of a worker who has been continuously employed for three months or more, the employer shall not be liable under this section to make any payment in respect of a period during which the worker is absent from work with the leave of the employer granted at the request of the worker.

(9) In the calculation of .a payment in lieu of notice, only that part of the wages which a worker receives in money, exclusive of overtime and other allowances, shall be taken into account.

Common employment not a defence

12. (1) It shall not be a defence to an employer who is sued in respect of personal injuries caused by the negligence of a person employed by him, that person was, at the time the injuries were caused, in common employment with the person injured.

(2) Any provisions contained in a contract of service or apprenticeship, or in an agreement collateral thereto (including a contract or agreement entered into before the commencement of this section) shall be void in so far as it would have the effect of excluding or limiting any liability of the employer in respect of personal injuries caused to the person employed or apprenticed by the negligence of persons m common employment with him.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the expression "personal injuries" includes any disease and any impairment of a person's physical or mental condition arising out of his employment, and "injury" and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

Terms and conditions of employment

Hours of work and overtime
13. (1) Normal hours of work in any undertaking shall be those fixed-
(a) by mutual agreement; or

(b) by collective bargaining within the organization or industry concerned; or

(c) by 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.

(2) Hours which a worker is required to work in excess of the normal hours fixed under subsection (1) of this section shall constitute overtime.

(3) Where a worker is at work for six hours or more a day, his work shall be interrupted (to the extent which is necessary having regard to its character and duration and to working conditions in general) by allowing one or more suitably spaced rest-intervals of not less than one hour on the aggregate:

Provided that-
(a) exceptions may be made to the rule in this subsection where unforeseen circumstances render them necessary; and

(b) where it is found unavoidable in view of the nature of the work and the working conditions in general, time-off for a meal at the worksite or in the immediate vicinity may be substituted for the rest-interval.

(4) In subsection (3) of this section, "rest-interval" means an interruption of work, of which the length is fixed beforehand and during which the worker is free to dispose of his time and is not required to remain at the place of work.

(5) Where, by reason of its connection with a mechanical process or as a result of other circumstances, the work involves continuous strain or is particularly trying in other ways, the worker shall be allowed the requisite number of suitably adjusted and spaced breaks in the work.

(6) In subsection (5) of this section, "break in the work" means a short intermission in the work fixed beforehand which is ordered with a view to allowing the worker to detach himself from his work and which is not to be counted as a rest-interval or time-off under subsection (3) of this section.

(7) In every period of seven days a worker shall be entitled to one day of rest which shall not be less than twenty-four consecutive hours; if any reduction takes place in the weekly rest-period-
(a) corresponding time-off from work shall be allowed as soon as possible (and in any case not later than fourteen days thereafter); or

(b) wages at overtime rates shall be paid in lieu thereof.

Provision of transport
14. (1) Where a worker is required to travel sixteen kilometres or more from his normal place of work to another worksite he shall be entitled to free transport or an allowance in lieu thereof.

(2) Where the employer provides a vehicle or vessel for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, he shall ensure that the vehicle or vessel is suitable, is in good sanitary condition and is not overcrowded.

Periodicity of payment of wages
15. Wages shall become due and payable at the end of each period for which the contract is expressed to subsist, that is to say, daily, weekly or at such other period as may be agreed upon:

Provided that, where the period is more than one month, the wages shall become due and payable at intervals not exceeding one month.

Cap. W6

Sick leave
16. Subject to the Workmen's Compensation Act, a worker shall be entitled to be paid wages up to twelve working days in any one calendar year during absence from work caused by temporary illness certified by a registered medical practitioner:

Provided that this section shall not apply unless-
(a) the contract remains in existence during the period of absence and the worker is ready and willing to perform his part of the contract save for the incapacity produced by the illness; and

(b) the worker, if so requested by the employer, consents to be examined by a qualified medical practitioner nominated by the employer.

Duty of employer to provide work
17. (1) Except where a collective agreement provides otherwise, every employer shall, unless a worker has broken his contract, provide work suitable to the worker's capacity on every day (except rest days and public holidays) on which the worker presents himself and is fit for work; and, if the employer fails to provide work as aforesaid, he shall pay to the worker in respect of each day on which he has so failed wages at the same rate as would be payable if the worker had performed a day's work:

Provided that-
(a) where, owing to a temporary emergency or other circumstances beyond the employer's control (the period of which shall not exceed one week or such longer period as an authorized labour officer may allow in any particular case), the employer is unable to provide work, the worker shall be entitled to those wages only on the first day of the period in question; and


(b) this subsection shall not apply where the worker is suspended from work as a punishment for a breach of discipline or any other offence.

(2) Where a worker is employed in any agricultural undertaking on a plantation on a contract of service under which he earns wages calculated by reference to the number of days' work performed in each month of his service, the employer shall provide the worker with work suitable to his capacity on not less than twenty-four days in each month during the whole of which he is so employed; and, if the employer fails to provide work as aforesaid on any of those twenty-four days on which the worker presents himself and is fit for work, he shall pay to the worker in respect of each such day wages at the same rates as would be payable if the worker had performed a day's work:

Provided that, in computing twenty-four days for the purposes of this subsection, account shall not be taken of more than six days in any one week.

(3) Any dispute between an employer and a worker as to the worker's fitness for work under subsection (1) or (2) of this section may be referred to an authorized labour officer, who may take such medical or other advice as he thinks appropriate and whose decision shall be final.

Annual holidays with pay
18. (1) Every worker shall be entitled after twelve months continuous service to a holiday with full pay of
(a) at least six working days; or

(b) in the case of persons under the age of sixteen years (including apprentices), at least twelve working days.

(2) The holiday mentioned in subsection (1) of this section may be deferred by agreement between the employer and the worker:

Provided that the holiday-earning period shall not thereby be increased beyond twenty-four months continuous service.

(3) It shall be unlawful for an employer to pay wages in lieu of the holiday mentioned in subsection (1) of this section to a worker whose contract has not terminated.

(4) A person who ceases to be employed after having completed-
(a) less than twelve but not less than six months in the continuous employment of an employer; or

(b) not less than six months in the continuous employment of an employer since last qualified for a holiday under subsection (1) of this section,

shall be paid with respect to that period of employment an amount bearing the same proportion to full pat for one week at his normal rate as that period bears to twelve months.

Calculation of leave pay and sickness benefits.
19. In the calculation of leave pay and sickness benefits only that part of his wages which a worker receives in money (excluding overtime and other allowances) shall be taken into account.

Redundancy.
20. (1) In the event of redundancy-
(a) the employer shall inform the trade union or workers' representative concerned of the reasons for and the extent of the anticipated redundancy;

(b) the principle of "last in, first out" shall be adopted in the discharge of the particular category of workers affected, subject to all factors of relative merit, including skill, ability and reliability; and

(c) the employer shall use his best endeavours to negotiate redundancy payments to any discharged workers who are not protected by regulations made under subsection (2) of this section.

(2) The Minister may make regulations providing, generally or in particular cases, for the compulsory payment of redundancy allowances on the termination of a worker's employment because of his redundancy.

(3) In this section "redundancy" means an involuntary and permanent loss of employment caused by an excess of manpower.

General
Offences
21. (1) Any employer who-
(a) enters into any agreement or contract or gives any remuneration for employment contrary to this Part or declared by this Part to be illegal or unlawful; or

(b) makes any deduction from the wages of any worker or receives any payment from any worker contrary to this Part; or

(c) contravenes section 6 (2), 7, 13 (3), (5) or (7), 14 or 18 (3) of this Act,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N800 or, for a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding N500.

(2) Where an employer is charged with an offence under subsection (1) of this section-
(a) he shall be entitled, upon information duly laid by him, to have any other person whom he charges as the actual offender brought before the court at the time appointed for hearing the charge; and

(b) if, after the commission of the offence has been proved, the employer proves to the satisfaction of the court that he has used due diligence to enforce this Part and that the other person has committed the offence without the employer's knowledge, consent or connivance, the other person shall be convicted of the offence and the employer shall be exempted from any liability.

(3) Where it is made to appear to the satisfaction of the Minister at the time of the discovery of an apparent offence under subsection (1) of this section-
(a) that the employer in question has used due diligence to enforce this Part;

(b) by what person the offence had been committed; and

(c) that the offence has been committed without the knowledge, connivance or consent of the employer, the Minister shall proceed against the person whom he believes to be the actual offender in the first instance without first proceeding against the employer.

Exemptions
22. (1) Nothing in this Part shall apply to a worker who is the father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter of the employer.

(2) Nothing in this Part of this Act shall apply to any body of persons working on any agreement of co-operation.

PART II - RECRUITING Recruiters and recruiting generally

Prohibition of recruiting except under permit or licence
23. (1) Subject to this section and section 48 of this Act, no person or association shall recruit any citizen for employment as a worker in Nigeria or elsewhere except in pursuance of an employer's permit or recruiter's licence.

(2) Where a worker-
(a) is employed by an undertaking for which it is proposed that he should recruit other workers;

(b) is formally commissioned in writing by his employer to recruit other workers for the undertaking;

(c) does not receive any remuneration or other advantage from the recruiting; and

(d) does not make advances of wages to the workers he recruits,