Section 16


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Maximum working hours, overtime, weekly rest and leave

Section 16 provides for workers’ entitlement to up to 12 days of paid sick leave per year.


Under section 21, any employer who underpays workers, makes unlawful deductions or manipulates wages, or denies workers’ right to anual leave, will be liable to pay a fine of up to 800 naira for a first offence, or up to 1,500 naira for a repeated offence. Section 22 introduces an exception to the penalties set out in section 21, for employers who are direct relatives of the worker concerned.

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Section 16. Sick leave. 

Subject to the Workmen’s Compensation Act, a worker shall be entitled to be paid wages up to twelve working days in anyone calendar year during absence from work caused by temporary illness certified by a registered medical practitioner:

Provided that this section shall not apply unless‐

(a) the contract remains in existence during the period of absence and the worker is ready and willing to perform his part of the contract save for the incapacity produced by the illness; and

(b) the worker, if so requested by the employer, consents to be examined by a qualified medical practitioner nominated by the employer.

Law / Nigeria / Labour Act

The Nigerian Labour Act applies to all workers and to all employers, with the exception of the armed forces, the Police, prison staff and intelligence agencies. The Act was adopted in 1971, replacing the Labour Code Act and consolidating the law relating to labour and employment in Nigeria. The Act specifically prohibits forced or compulsory labour, and makes provision for the rights and entitlements of workers, the terms and conditions of employment including annual leave, maternity and sick leave, recruitment processes, working hours, payment of wages, and health and safety. Under the Act, it has also been made illegal for employers to prevent their employees from joining trade unions.