Littler Global Guide - Nigeria - Q1 2024

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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New Minimum Wage on the Horizon

New Order or Decree

Authors: Ugonna Ogbuagu, Partner, and Emmanuel Abraye, Senior Associate – AELEX

Recent developments in the first quarter of 2024 indicate an impending change in Nigeria’s minimum wage. As per the National Minimum Wage Act 2019, employers with 25 or more full-time workers were mandated to pay a monthly minimum wage of 30,000 Naira for a five-year period, set to expire on April 17, 2024. Given the approaching end date of the current minimum wage and the prevailing economic challenges such as the devaluation of the naira and escalating inflation, an adjustment to the minimum wage has become crucial.

On January 28, 2024, the Federal Government of Nigeria established a 37-member committee tasked with proposing a new minimum wage for both the private and public sectors. It is hoped that the committee will provide its recommendations before the expiration of the current minimum wage and that the new minimum wage will be announced on or before the Workers’ Day celebrations on May 1, 2024.

Navigating the Interstices of Triangular Employment Relationships

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Ugonna Ogbuagu, Partner, and Emmanuel Abraye, Senior Associate – AELEX

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), which has exclusive jurisdiction over labor matters, continues to recognize triangular employment relationships in outsourcing and contract staffing cases (common with multi-national companies operating in Nigeria). In a recent decision involving a staffing arrangement, the NICN held the end-user liable for obligations arising from employment contracts, even though it did not directly sign them. The court based its decision on factors such as the claimants’ work as security guards for the end-user and the absence of a clear triangular employment relationship.

This decision underscores the NICN’s tendency to classify end-users as co-employers in such scenarios and departed from two previous Court of Appeal judgments. In those cases, the Court of Appeal emphasized the necessity for employment relationships to be established through formal employment contracts and other contractual documents. Consequently, end-users must carefully assess staffing arrangements with labor brokers to determine their potential liability to seconded employees.

The NICN’s decision was in Odah Ezekiel & 3 Ors. v. Total E&P Nigeria Ltd & 5 Ors., Suit No. NICN/LA/663/2016, unreported judgment delivered on January 30, 2024.

The Introduction of an Expatriate Employment Levy

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Authors: Ugonna Ogbuagu, Partner, and Emmanuel Abraye, Senior Associate – AELEX

On February 27, 2024, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) launched the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL), a mandatory contribution imposed on employers hiring foreign workers in Nigeria. The EEL aims to, among other things, promote skill transfer, prioritize local talent development and acquisition and ultimately safeguard Nigeria’s long-term economic prosperity. It is an annual payment, with rates of USD $15,000 for directors and USD $10,000 for other employee categories. The levy applies to expatriates on temporary work permits or staying/working in Nigeria for 183 days or more within a year.

Concerns were raised that the EEL could negatively affect foreign direct investment and might breach Nigeria’s non-discrimination commitments under the International Labor Organization’s Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97). For these and more, on March 8, 2024, the FGN suspended the implementation of the EEL to allow for further dialogue among stakeholders.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.