Countless number of people travel from Nigeria to other countries every day for work and better living conditions. Some migrant workers carry their family members along, while others leave them behind and send money back home. Irrespective of the level and statistics of emigration of people from Nigeria for labour, the Nigerian Labour Market remains a going concern and an earnest legal glance has to be taken into the relationship that co-exist between the employer and the employee, as it relate to labour and employment, pension and workplace compensation within the purview of the law, as these have a great influence on the Labour Market.
Relevant Statutes Guiding The Nigerian Labour Market And Scope Of Operation
The Nigerian Labour Market is broadly regulated by quite a number of statutes varying from the grundnorm, The Labour Act Cap LFN 2004, Employee’s Compensation Act 2010, Pension Reform Act 2014, Trade Union (Amendment) Act 2005, National Health Insurance Authority Act 2022, National Industrial Court Act 2006, Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, Nigeria Data Protection Regulation and other legislations or regulations for professional bodies, and a host of many others.
The Labour Act is the principal legislation governing employment relations in Nigeria. Its application is limited to employees engaged under a contract of manual labour or clerical work in private and public sector. A blanket application of all legislations, regulations and guidelines that relates to labour and employment in Nigeria is broadly in connection with labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and matters arising from workplace, the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.
The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, with the credo ‘ensuring decent work for all Nigerians’ is directly responsible for issues relating to labour and employment. Meanwhile, there are other government agencies in specific industry sectors whose activities touch directly or indirectly on labour and employment, such as Nigerian Pension Commission. The Ministry in a bid to carrying out his responsibilities created policies and regulations which majority in the labour market are scarcely aware of.
It is commendable to state that the role of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which is the court of competent jurisdiction vested with the exclusive jurisdiction on labour and employment matters in the recent times cannot be underestimated as it has engaged itself in practically interpreting the words of the statutes and enforcing the rights of both the employers as well as the employees. The Court is insistent on upholding the principles of good or international best practice in labour and industrial provisions.
The Nigerian Labour Law distinguishes between workers and non-workers. It defines workers as those who are generally employees who perform manual labour or clerical work while non-workers as employees who perform administrative, executive, technical or professional functions.
The Nigerian labour law includes within it the relationship between employers and their employees, cutting across, government works, publicly-owned corporations as well as between private industries.
E-E (Employer-Employee) Relationship And The Provisions Of The Law
The Nigerian labour law through its chief legislation, the Labour Act investigates the rights, working conditions, minimum wage, termination clauses, and many other rules set by the government of Nigeria as it relates to employment. But beyond all these, this capsule on Labour Law seeks to awake the alertness of legal consultations and advisory in the heart of employers and employees in publicly-owned corporations as well as private industries, to help both parties to maximise the wide provisions of law and enjoy equilibrium at a sustained pendulum that benefits, protects, and secures the rights of all parties.
The Labour Act, inter alia in its classification into parts provides as follows:
Contracts Of Employment
- Written particulars of terms of employment
Section 7(1) of the Labour Act provides that 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 –
- the name of the employer or group of employers, and where appropriate, of the undertaking by which the worker is employee;
- 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.
Section 7 (2) of the Act further provides that 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.
- Termination of contracts by notice
Section 11 of the Act deals largely on termination of employment and notice.
(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.
From the foregoing, it is apt to conclude that it is an in-depth interpretation and understanding of all the provisions of the Act and other adjoining legislations that offers the employers and the employees mutually consensual atmosphere to work. It is however unfortunate that many employers as well as employees do not engage in legal consultations and advisories that can guide them through the tides of employment. This capsule on Labour Law is to be digested to awake the alertness of legal consultations and advisory to improve employment and labour law in Nigeria.
 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
 S 254C, 1999 CFRN, as amended
 Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi, SAN Termination Of Employment In Nigeria: An Overview Of The Labour Law accessed 14th March, 2023
 Lambo, Agumuo, ‘Employment and Labour Laws and Regulations 2022’ (2022) < https://iclg.com/practice-areas/employment-and-labour-laws-and-regulations/nigeria> accessed 14th March, 2023
 Section 7- 12 of the Labour Act, ibid