Senate ensures 2nd reading of Bill for upward review of fines for labour offences
A bill to amend the Labour Act to provide for upward review of fines on violations of labour laws on Tuesday, March 16, scaled second reading at the Senate.
Leading debate on general principles of the bill, Sen. Francis Ezenwa (APC-Imo), said the bill sought to essentially increase the current fines for offences in the labor act.
He said given the obsolete nature of the existing fines, the amendment would ensure that fines comply with modern realities in labour practice.
He said the new fines would serve as deterrent against labour related offences in the country.
“The present fines for offences in the Nigerian labour act are obsolete in context and content.
“The sanction, penalty and interest payable under the act are ridiculously low and do not reflect current economic realities,” he said.
According to him, the current provisions cannot provide the needed protection for workers in the labour market.
He said there was need to review the penalties, upward to achieve fair and harmonious employee relations.
Ezenwa said Section 21 of the current labour act on breach of terms and conditions of employment on wage hour, leave and contracts of employment pegged fine as N800 and N150 for first and second offenders.
He, however, said N500,000 and N1million was being proposed in the new bill as fine for offenders.
He said Section 46 of the act on neglect or ill-treatment of workers by employers has N500 as fine for violation, saying that N500,000 was being proposed as the new fine.
Sen. Istifanus Dung (PDP-Plateau), supporting the bill, said the ill-treatment of workers in various forms was obnoxious.
He said the bill, when passed would address the ill-treatment of workers by employers in the country.
He said the uncharitable act on workers should no longer be condoned, while urging other Senators to support the bill for second reading.