Employers Who Owe Salaries to Face Jail Term as Nigerian Lawmakers Pass New Bill


The House of Representatives which is the lower chamber of Nigeria’s federal legislature (The National Assembly) has approved a new bill that may send employers who owe salaries to jail. The bill passed the first reading and was adopted for the second reading on Tuesday.

The bill prohibits underpayment or low payment of wages, stipends, salaries, pensions, benefits, and other payments related to workplace and labor, both at the cooperative and casual working place.

Employers Who Owe Salaries to Face Jail Term as Nigerian Lawmakers Pass New Bill

The bill also outlines certain terms and conditions that would lead to the employers’ jail term as punishment for violations.

The statutory statement mandates two weeks jail term for employers who owe one-month salaries and a one-month jail term for employers who owe two months’ salary.

“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”, section 2 of the bill states.

Employers Who Owe Salaries to Face Jail Term as Nigerian Lawmakers Pass New Bill

Section 3 subsection 1 of the bill, as documented by Sahara reporters, prohibits employers from deducting employees’ salaries, wages, or stipends as a means of punishment for work negligence.

The section 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, for in respect of bad negligent work or injury to the material or property of the employer or respect of any fine.”

The employer bill as supported by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila representing Surulere Federal Constituency has been approved for the second reading would go through house debate, then the third and final reading before the bill is passed into law and probable enforcement.

Nigerians on social media reacted to the bill hilariously. Some Nigerians said that the federal government of Nigeria might end up being the first to go to jail for always owing federal workers, while others think the bill may not get to the final adoption and possible enforcement.

 If the new bill pass the finally reading and enacted into the Nigerian labor law, it will be a good news for Millions of Nigerians who are either under employed, underpaid or struggling to get their salaries on time. It may also lead to an end to the Nigerian State governments who are fun of owing workers salaries for months, and pensions and gratuities for years.

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