‘Emeka! Come. There’s this big client in Oshodi that we need to discuss some issues with concerning that contract.’
‘Ah! Sir, Oshodi? By this time? There’ll be traffic.’
‘What of T fare Sir? Sir!’
The above is an example of a typical situation some people face in their place of employment. The fear of losing ones job prevents us from exercising certain rights and understanding or knowing certain benefits owed to us by our Employers.
In this article, light will be thrown on the benefits which an employee is entitled to.
Before we continue, it is pertinent to note, that asides from the benefits which will be discussed below, there are other benefits which an employee is entitled to but which depends solely on the company, business, agency or firm such person is working for. In order to know those ones, you need to first be employed by such company, business, agency or firm and secondly, to read and understand its Conditions or Terms of Service.
Under the Nigerian Law, there are several benefits which an Employer is legally bound to provide. They include and may not be limited to;
- TRAVEL BENEFITS: In the scenario above, Emeka was sent from Victoria Island to Oshodi. Section 14 (1) of the Labour Act provides that a person who is required to travel 16 Kilometres or more from his normal place of work to another worksite is entitled to free transport or an allowance in lieu. We can see that Emeka’s boss tried to pull a fast one by ignoring him. Don’t be like Emeka, speak out.
OVERTIME: Yes! For those of you that like work too much. Those that must do and overdo like overcooked party jollof rice. Rejoice! Your appointed time has come. You have been covered by the preciousness of Section 13 of the Labour Act. The Labour Act defines Overtime as hours in excess of the normal hours of work. It however does not specify how it is to be calculated but the practice is at an hourly rate.
- SICK LEAVE: Sicky sicky! Heavy heavy! All those people that’ll call in sick on a Monday morning after Hangover weekend. Say ayeeeee! Waka! If you like continue, don’t learn, just know that the law ‘requires’ you to fall sick 12 (twelve) days in a calendar year and a Medical Practitioner has to certify that you’re actually sick before you can collect. If you doubt, just check Section 16 of the Labour Act. It’s there in black and white. Know it now o!
HOLIDAY/ LEAVE: You’re entitled to 21 days leave, wait o! That’s not all. There’s a catch. New Employees, this is not yet for you. You can only enjoy this benefit after working for 12 months of continuous service. You know, to be sure you’re in it for the long haul. To test your loyalty. It’s just 12 months but after that. Jaiye! You can find this under Section 18 of the Labour Act. Oh! Before I forget, you can’t take money in lieu of your Holiday period. It’s illegal. Yup.
- MATERNITY LEAVE: It’s a gooaaallllll!!! Yes! Your Employer is so happy that you’re pregnant that according to Section 54 of the Labour Act, they are required to dash you 12 full weeks for just you and your baby! That’s 3 months o! 6 weeks before the baby comes out and 6 weeks after. With at least 50% of your salary being paid during that time. I can already imagine the smile on your Employers’ face as he signs your cheques. 😀 That aside, you’re also entitled to two extra 30 minutes break to nurse our office baby. To enjoy these benefits, you have to be employed for 6 (six) months. Let the mathematics begin!
RETIREMENT BENEFITS: After years and years of work dedication, you’re entitled to retirement benefits. A thank you for your years of service and a work well done. This is provided for under the Pension Act, 2004.
- LIFE INSURANCE: The one benefit that you won’t benefit directly from. 7% of Employees paycheck covers this. In the event of your eventual death, the person whom you have documented as your Next-of-kin receives premium and any benefit from your life insurance policy. Pension Act, 2004. Ah hem, to avoid stories that touch the soul and sleeping with one eye open, keep the person you named as your Next-of-kin to yasef. Thank you.
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate. Asides from these benefits legally provided for, the company, business, firm or agency you are employed under may or may not have their own added benefits for working with them. After all what are benefits but incentives to make you love your job. Don’t forget to go through the Terms/ Conditions of Service to have a better understanding.
The National Industrial Court has Original and Exclusive Jurisdiction over Labour matters. Any issue you have concerning your boss, it’s the National Industrial Court that’ll listen to you first. Not State High Court o! Not Federal High Court! National Industrial Court (NIC).
Written by Ezeoke Onyinyechi V.