Annual Leave and Holidays

This page was last updated on: 2021-01-10

Paid Vacation / Annual Leave

A worker is entitled to annual leave of at least six working days with full salary. The annual leave is increased to at least twelve working days for young workers (under sixteen) including apprentices. A worker must have worked for at least twelve months in order to qualify for annual leave.

Annual leave must be taken at the end of the year in which it is earned however it can be deferred by mutual agreement provided that the holiday earning period must not exceed twenty-four months and the earned and deferred leave must be taken within 24 months.

It is unlawful for an employer to pay basic wage in compensation of un-availed annual leaves except in case of termination of the employment contract. During annual leave, workers are entitled to basic salary which is exclusive of overtime pay and other allowances.

In case of termination of the employment contract, if the worker has worked for more than six months but less than twelve months, the employer must pay an amount pro rata to the minimum statutory annual leave entitlement accrued during the period of employment. Worker is also granted pro rata payment for accrued annual leave if he/she has worked for at least six months since the last full year in which he/she earned annual leave entitlement.

Source: §18 of the Labour Act (Cap L1 LFN 2004)

Pay on Public Holidays

Public holidays are paid rest days of religious or memorial nature. The minimum number of paid public holidays is eleven – these are based on the decision of the President. The worker is entitled to the wages that would have been earned for working on that day.

Employees are entitled to public holiday benefits for the following days: New Year's Day (1st January), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Workers' Day (1st May), National Day (1st October), Christmas Day (25th December), Id el Fitr, Id el Kabir, Id el Maulud. Date of holidays of Muslim festivals are subject to sighting of moon and thus are liable to change.

Public Holidays are declared as work free days. If a public holiday falls on weekly rest day, workers are not entitled to another rest day. If the day declared as public holiday is not the actual day of the religious festival, the worker is allowed to take a day off on actual day to perform the religious festival.

Source: Public Holidays Act, 1979

Weekly Rest Days

In Nigeria, workers are granted one weekly rest day of not less than twenty-four hours after six continuous working days. Weekly rest days are paid days and employees must not work on weekly rest days. If an employee has to work on weekly rest days, additional day off or monetary compensation is provided.

A worker, involved in six hours or more of daily work, must be provided one or more suitably spaced rest-intervals of not less than one hour on the aggregate.  With the exception in case of unforeseen circumstances that render them necessary; and where it is found unavoidable in view of the nature of the work and the working conditions in general, time-off for a meal at the worksite or in the immediate vicinity may be substituted for the rest interval. Length of rest interval is fixed beforehand and the worker is free to dispose of his time and is not required to remain at the place of work. Depending on the job nature, the worker should be allowed the requisite number of suitably adjusted and spaced breaks in the work.

No clear provision could be located on daily rest periods. 

Source: §13(3-7) of the Labour Act (Cap L1 LFN 2004)

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