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Senate seeks stiffer punishment for modern slavery, child labour offenders

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Senate seeks stiffer punishment for modern slavery, child labour offenders
Senate has began legislative process to review the Labour Act to provide stiffer penalties for various offences ranging from modern slavery, child Labour to discrimination against women in the work place.
The amendment to the Labour law seeks to introduce stiffer penalties to punish employers who deny female employees maternity protection and discriminate against women during employment to fill positions in underground work or mines.
Leading debate on the Labour Act Amendment Bill 2020, which passed second reading yesterday during plenary, its sponsor, Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi (PDP Imo East) said it “seeks to amend the present fines for his offences in the Labour Act which are now obsolete and bring them in line with modern realities.”
According to the lawmaker, an amendment to the Act “will serve as deterrent against labour related offences.”
He disclosed that the amendment Bill seeks the upward review of fines in the Labour Act for several offences.
“The present fines for offenses 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.
“These current provisions cannot provide the needed protection for workers in the labour market.
“There is therefore a need to review these penalties/fines upwards in order to achieve fair and harmonious employee relations,” Senator Onyewuchi said.
The piece of legislation was amended in Sections 21, 46, 47, 53, 58, 64, 67, 68, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 85 and 88 with proposed increase in fines for various offences.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, chaired by Senator Abdullahi Barkiya for further legislative work and report back in four weeks.
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