With the Workman (Unpaid Wages Prohibition) Bill having successfully passed second reading, employers of labour in the country risk one-year imprisonment and loss of 30 per cent of benefits due to employees if they delay or fail to pay their salaries.
The bill shall apply to employers in both public and private sectors when it comes into effect. The details of the bill showed that employers would lose between 10 and 30 per cent of the wage value for delaying or failing to pay employees’ salaries.
Section 4 (1) of the bill provides, “An employer shall not hold onto the salary, wage, pension and any other benefit and emolument of any workman for a period of seven days and above from the day the payment of such salary, wage, pension and any other benefit and emolument falls due save in the event of any force majure.” Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsored the bill.
According to the bill, a salary delay of one to seven days, shall attract a penalty of “10 per cent of one month wage”, while delay or non-payment of salary for eight to 30 days, shall cost the employer “20 per cent of one month wage”. Where the delay is 30 to 60 days, the penalty shall be 30 per cent of two months wage. Salary delay of 60 days and above shall attract a harsher penalty of “30 per cent of the wage for the duration and one-month imprisonment of the employer”. The bill provides that depending on the size of the organisation, the provision shall apply to the employer, whether as an individual, partners or the directors.