House of Reps passes N30,000 minimum wage

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The House of Representatives has approved N30,000 as minimum wage for workers in the public and private sectors.

The lawmakers also increased the initial threshold for public and private sectors workers in states and local governments from N27,000 proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the National Minimum Wage Act Amendment Bill to N30,000.

The lawmakers also adopted stiff penalties for would-be defaulters when the bill is signed into law.

Workers, labour unions and Labour Minister Chris Ngige were also empowered to enforce the law should employers decide to breach the law.

The Federal Government had in a House of Representatives public hearing on Monday revealed its intention to augment the balance of N3,000 to make it N30,000 for its workers.

The Federal Government, however, emphasised that states and the private sector are to engage workers’ unions and negotiate the minimum wage that should not be below N27,000.

On sanction, if convicted, the employer, who fails to pay the new minimum wage, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five per cent of the offender’s monthly wage; pay all outstanding arrears of the workers’ wages and pay an additional penalty of not less than the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lending rate on the wages owed for each month of the continuing violation.

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In addition, any employer that fails to keep records of wages or condition of employment of a worker on conviction would be liable to a fine not exceeding N75,000 and additional penalty not exceeding N10,000 for each day.

Also, notwithstanding the provisions of the bill, anyone that hinders the authority of an authorised officer in the exercise of his powers under the bill or tamper with records and convicted is liable to a fine not exceeding N250,000 or imprisonment term not exceeding six months or both.

However, not all categories of workers are to enjoy the new minimum wage as it shall not apply to employers with less than 25 workers; employers, whose workers are employed on part time basis; employers, who pay their workers based on commission; workers on seasonal employment such as agriculture and persons employed in a vessel or aircraft due to their peculiar regulations.

The two recommendations of the Yussuff Lasun-ad hoc Committee as well as all the provisions of the bill as forwarded by Mr. President were adopted at the Committee of the Whole House, chaired by the Speaker and passed as amended at plenary by the House.

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