The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to prohibit late payment of wages and salaries as well as underpayment by employers.
The bill, sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was introduced on 7 March 2019 and has now passed for second reading on Tuesday during plenary.
The legislation is proposing fines and punishment for delays in payment of salaries or breaches of contracts by employers.
Section 2 of the bill provides that “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 delay weekly, fortnightly monthly, quarterly or yearly as may be agreed by parties in the contract of employment of the additional individuals”.
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Section 3 (1a,b,c) further prohibits employers from making arbitrary deductions from the wages or pension of workers unless expressly provided in the contract of engagement
“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 unless the deduction or payment to be made under the contract does not exceed the actual or estimated damage or loss occasioned to the employer by the proven Act or omission of the workman or of some other person over whom he has control or for whom he has by the contract agreed to be responsible.”
Section 4 provides that “an employer shall not hold on to the salary, wage, pension or any other benefit and emolument of any workman for a period of seven days and above from the day the payment of such salary, wage, pension, and any other benefit and emolument falls due save in the event of any force majure.”
As punishment, the bill seeks one-month imprisonment for any employer that owes salaries for more than 60 days.
The bill was taken without debate and referred to the Committee of the Whole by Mr Gbajabiamila.
Commission on religious harmony
Meanwhile, the House also considered a bill to create a religious harmony commission and passed it for second reading.
The bill, sponsored by Mr Gbajabiamila and Hassan Fulata (APC, Jigawa), was considered and passed by the House.
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The proposed commission will have the power to investigate cases of religious discrimination, victimisation and harassment in Nigeria and prosecute offenders.
The synopsis of the bill states that “It (commission) will monitor incidents of religious extremism, including hate speech and other actions and utterances intended to incite violent passions and prosecute offenders.
“Provide an early warning system for government and law enforcement to detect and prevent actions liable to incite religious violence and breakdown in law and order.
“Conduct research and advise the government and National Assembly on remedial measures to prevent religious extremism and the dangers that flow therefrom.”
This bill was also referred to the committee of the whole for consideration.
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