Entitlement For An Employee On Suspension In Nigeria

Suspension is a short-lived cessation of an employee’s employment for either pending investigation for an alleged wrong or as a disciplinary procedure for misconduct by the employee. It is one of so many ways employers use to impose sanctions against an employee as a disciplinary measure.

Suspension does not aggregate to the termination or dismissal of the employee from the employment, the contract of employment remains subsisting until it is formally or legally brought to an end by either party.

An employer has the right to suspend an employee for numerous reasons some of which could be any of the following mentioned below;

  • General misconduct which may include criminal misconduct
  • Non-compliance with the rules and policies of the company or intentional disobedience to reasonable orders from an employer
  • Damages made to the property of the employer

Entitlement During Suspension

Suspension of a worker puts a pause in the employee’s duty to work and also the employer’s duty to pay him. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the right to suspend an employee without pay must be expressly agreed in a contract of employment otherwise it will be wrong to suspend without pay (or half pay). Such power cannot be implied in an employment contract but has to be expressly stated and agreed upon by the employer and employee.

This is the recent judgment in the Court of Appeal case of Globe Motors Holding Ltd v Akinyemi Adegoke Oyewole (2022) JELR 109330, following the decision of the supreme court in Longe v FBN Plc (supra) and also applied by the supreme court in the subsequent case of Bamisile v NJC & Ors. (infra) held thus:

Since the suspension is not a termination of the employment contract nor a dismissal of the employee, the implication is that the employee is still in continuous employment of the employer until he is recalled or formally terminated or dismissed. Pending his recall or dismissal, a suspended employee is entitled to his wages or salary during the period of suspension unless the terms of the contract of employment or the letter of the suspension itself are specific that the suspended employer will not be paid a salary during the period of the suspension.”


Employers are encouraged to be careful when employing the tool of suspending their employees without pay as a little mistake can lead the employer into the trouble of paying unplanned damages and wrecking the financials of the business.

However, an employer who is insistent on meting out suspension without pay on a fallible employee must ensure that the employment contract and company policies sufficiently accommodate such provisions.

You can contact us for a free consultation on your rights as an employee as we are your number one labour and employment law firm in Nigeria.

We provide other legal services ranging from company formation, intellectual property, family law, immigration, and a host of others in the United Kingdom, Asia, and India.

We at eLegal Consultants look forward to meeting you and are ready to journey with you to actualize your dreams. Contact us today.

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