Rights of Private Employees under the Nigerian Law

Employees in Nigeria have often times recounted their tales of how they were treated wrongly and their reactions to such treatment from their employers. It has become pertinent for us to highlight some of the rights you have as an employee in Nigeria and how you can legally exercise such rights.

The primary legislation governing employment law in Nigeria is the Labor Act, which applies to employees working under a contract of manual labor or clerical job in the private and public sectors. Other legislations that regulate the affairs of employees are;

  • Employees’ Compensation Act 2010
  • National Health Insurance Scheme
  • Trade Unions Act
  • Personal Income Tax Act

Some of your rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Labor Law are briefly deciphered for you below;

Payment of Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage for private employees in Nigeria is #30,000 per month which took effect on the 18th of April, 2019. The law is clear on this provision and has made it mandatory that every employee can not be paid less than this minimum wage. Where your employer fails to adhere to the provision, he or she may be subject to punishment by the Nigerian government. The payment of wages must be payable with a legal tender that is your employer cannot pay you any other thing except money.

Transfer of Employment

As an employer, before you can be transferred by your employer to another employer, your consent must be received and an authorized Labor officer will also endorse such transfer.

Leave, Holidays and Resting Hours

As an employee, you are expected by the Law to be given at least an hour of rest/break where you have to work for more than six(6) hours daily. You are also entitled to at least a day of rest in every period of seven days.

After 12 months of ceaseless service, you as an employee are authorized by the Law to a holiday of at least six(6) working days with full pay.

Every employee is allowed 12 days of sick leave for momentary illness authenticated by a noted Medical Doctor.

You should also know that as an employee, it is unlawful for an employer to request from you to pay wages in lieu of an annual holiday or any leave.

Employment Contract

An employer is mandated to furnish an employee with a written contract within 3months of the initiation of the employment. The significance of having an employment contract between the employer and the employer is to protect the interest of both parties, especially you as an employee. That is why the Law has stipulated that all the relevant terms that will be regulating the employment are reduced to writing and are agreed upon by you so that you know and understand what an employer’s expectation is from you. Where there is a change in the employment contract terms, the employee must be notified within one month in writing.

Salary Deductions

Unless there is a reasonable injury or loss caused by the employee to the employer, an employer is not in a position to deduct an employee’s salary. An employer can only deduct the wages of an employee where reasonable loss or injury was caused as a result of a negligent act of the employee with the preceding consent of an authorized labor officer in written form.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

As a female employee, you are empowered by the law to exercise at least 12 weeks maternity leave with payment of full salary. The current Law now approves paternity leave for men in Nigeria. The duration of the leave is for a period of 14 working days.

Termination of Contract

The law allows both an employer and employee to terminate the employment contract though with conditions and guidelines. If an employee has worked for a period of three months or less, a one-day notice must be given.

Where the employee has worked for three months to two years, a week’s notice is to be given in written form. For employees who worked for two years to five years, a two weeks notice is mandated. Where the employee has worked for a period of five years to seven years or more, either party will give a one-month notice before terminating the contract. All termination of contracts whose notice is a week and above must be in written form.


The employment law has more rights encapsulated in it as well as other legislations as stated above in this post for you to know. It is also important for you to know that disputes may rise between you as an employee and your employer. In the event of a dispute, the court with exclusive jurisdiction to hear the matter is the National Industrial Court. This is a brief insight into what your rights are under Nigerian Law, we encourage you to seek advice from an employment Lawyer in Nigeria for more details or you can reach out to us for free legal online advice in Nigeria via our website.

Feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We are just a click away. We also assure you that we will tend to your requests swiftly. We at eLegal consultants look forward to meeting you and are ready to journey with you to realize your dreams. Contact us today

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