Reps Seek to Penalise Employers for Late Payment of Salaries, Pensions

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A bill to prohibit late payment of salaries, pensions and other emoluments of workers has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill is titled A Bill for an Act to prohibit late payment of Workers’ Wages, Pension and Other Emolument in Nigeria and Prescribes penalties for Violation; and Related Matters. It was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and scaled the second reading during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.

Upon securing the second reading, the piece of legislation was referred straight to the Committee of the Whole for consideration, as no member opposed it.

Mr Gbajabiamila said there are varying penalties for offenders, including a term of imprisonment of up to one month.

For instance, an employer, who delays payment of salaries for a duration of one to seven days, will be liable to pay 10 per cent of one month’s pay to the employee; for eight to 30 days (20 per cent of the month’s pay); 30 to 60 days (30 per cent of one month’s pay); and 60 days/above (30 per cent of one month’s pay) plus improvement for one month.

The lawmaker disclosed that the bill wants to ensure the timely remuneration of employees, whether in the public or private sector. It also aims to prohibit the withholding of payment due to employees by employers in the guise of using the same to cover the cost of employee negligence.

In addition, it wants transparency of contracts between employers and employees and prescribes penalties against employers for violations of the provisions of this bill.

Furthermore, the bill, when passed into law, will provide compensation for employees and improve the general welfare conditions of employment for labour in Nigeria.

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