Labor law

Employment contracts in Nigeria are regulated under the Nigerian Labour Act Cap L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. The Act stipulates that in not later than three (3) months after the beginning of a worker’s period of employment with an employer, the employer is obligated to give to the worker, a written employment contract.

The said employment contract shall contain:

  1. the name of the employer or group of employers, and where appropriate, the undertaking by which the worker is employed;
  2. the name and address of the worker and the place and date of his engagement;
  3. the nature of the employment;
  4. if the contract is for a fixed term, the date when the contract expires;
  5. the appropriate period of notice to be given by the party wishing to terminate the contract;
  6. the rates of wages and method of circulation thereof and the manner and periodicity of payment of wages;
  7. any terms and conditions relating to hours of work, holidays and holiday pay or incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provisions for sick pay; and
  8. any special conditions of the contract.

Where a Nigerian Company intends to employ foreign nationals to work for them or carry out certain responsibilities for them, it is the duty of the company to obtain the several approvals and permits required before a foreigner can work in Nigeria.

Some of these permits, depending on the nature of the employment of the foreigner, include the following:

  1. Expatriate Quota Approval (EQA)
  2. Subject to Regularization Visa (“STR Visa”)
  3. Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (“CERPAC”)
  4. Temporary Work Permit (“TWP”)

The Labour Act makes it the duty of an employer to provide work for a worker suitable to the worker’s capacity and where the employer fails to do so, he is bound to pay to the worker his wages at the same rate as would be payable if the worker had performed his work on such days.

The Act also provides for the termination of employment of workers in Nigeria. In Nigeria, either party to an employment contract may terminate the contract on the expiration of notice given by him to the other party of his intention to do so.

Different lengths of notices are required depending on the nature and the duration of the contract:

  1. a one-day notice is required, where the contract has continued for a period of three months or less;
  2. a one-week notice is required where the contract has continued for more than three (3) months but less than two (2) years;
  3. a two-week notice is required where the contract has continued for a period of two (2) years but less than five (5) years; and
  4. one month, where the contract has continued for five (5) years.

This provision however applies where the length of notice is not expressly stated in the employment contract. Parties also have the right to waive their right to notice on any occasion and accept a payment in lieu of notice. In addition, all wages payable shall be paid on or before the expiry of any period of notice.