Nigeria: Senate Considers Bill to Regulate Employment of Domestic Workers, Interns

The bill also seeks to empower the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to issue licenses and monitor the activities of privately owned agencies in the country.

The Senate is considering a bill to regulate and formalise the employment of domestic workers, apprentices, interns and other informal sector employees in Nigeria.

The legislation also seeks to empower the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to issue licenses and monitor the activities of privately owned agencies in the country.

The bill, sponsored by Sani Musa (APC, Niger), scaled second reading on Wednesday.

The bill was read for the second time after lawmakers deliberated details of the legislation.

In his lead debate, the lawmaker said the operation in the informal sector was usually on a small scale with labour intensive production and usually private ownership driven.

He said the participation of the Nigerian economy by the informal sector showed evidence of violation of employee rights and non implementation of labour regulations .

The informal sector in Nigeria, he said, has practices that do not conform with that of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as ratified in its convention.

“There are still a lot of deficits in the implementation of these conventions, one of such areas of concern relates to a decent work deficit.”

Decent work is work with fair and equal treatments, decent remuneration, and fair condition of employment, safety and social protection, opportunities for training and collective bargaining.

He said the primary role of the bill was to regulate the sector to promote strategic objectives, promotion of rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.

He also complained that many jobs in the informal labour market still experience a decent work deficit and employees in the informal sector were often seen as having no rights and are therefore treated unfairly by their employers.

While he noted that the legislation will correct all the ills against such workers, he said it will empower NDE to receive an application from an agency who desires to function as an employment agency and issue a licence having met the requirements and is duly certified to play by the rules.

“The certification include that there is no criminal case against such agency, that it maintains proper books of accounts among other rules.”

Another Niger senator, Sabi Abdullahi, who supported the bill, suggested that provisions be made to the bill to protect employers from ill treatment.

After the bill was read for the second time and passed, it was referred to the committee on labour and productivity for further legislative work.

The committee is to report back to in four weeks.

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