Reps Seek Timely Payment Of Workers’ Wages, Others

A bill on the timely payment of wages to workers in Nigeria, be they in the public or private sector, has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which also prohibits late payment of pensions and other emoluments, was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The bill passed second reading during plenary in Abuja on Tuesday.

The long title of the bill, numbered HB. 7, reads, “A Bill for an Act to prohibit late payment of Workers’ Wages, Pension and Other Emolument in Nigeria and Prescribes penalties for Violation; and for Related Matters.”

The objectives of the bill are itemised hereunder,

• Ensure the timely remuneration of employees, whether in the public or private sector
• Prohibit the withholding of payment due to employees by employers in the guise of using same to cover the cost of employee negligence – (such ought rightly to be covered by insurance)
• Require transparency of contract between employers and employees
• Prescribe penalties against employers for violations of the provisions of this bill
• Provide compensation for employees
• Improve the general welfare conditions of employment for labour in Nigeria.

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% of one month’s pay to the employee; eight to 30 days (20% of month’s pay); 30 to 60 days (30% of one month’s pay); and 60 days/above (30% of one month’s pay) plus improvement for one month.

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

A second bill seeking to promote religious harmony in the country also passed second reading on Tuesday.
It was jointly sponsored by Rep. Gbajabiamila and the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Abubakar Fulata.

The long title reads, “A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the National Religious Harmony Commission; and for Related Matters.”

The bill was numbered HB. 1103. It was also referred to the Committee of the Whole.

The bill has the following objectives:

• Seeks to provide a statutory framework for the protection of fundamental human rights of Nigerians as it relates to matters of religious freedom and liberty
• Establish a Commission on Religious Harmony empowered to investigate cases of religious discrimination, victimisation and harassment in all facets of Nigeria and prosecute offenders
• Monitor incidents of religious extremism, including hate speech and other actions and utterances intended to incite violent passions and prosecute offenders
• Provide an early warning system for government and law enforcement to detect and prevent actions liable to incite religious violence and breakdown in law and order
• Conduct research and advise the government and National Assembly on remedial measures to prevent religious extremism and the dangers that flow therefrom.

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