Maternity and Work

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

Maternity Leave

Female workers are entitled to twelve (12) weeks of maternity leave, to cover pre and post maternity period. Out of this twelve-week period, six-week leave is taken after delivery. Maternity leave may begin six weeks before delivery after providing medical certificate from registered practitioner, confirming that the confinement may takes place within six weeks.

Maternity leave can be extended in case of illness, certified by the registered medical practitioner, that arise out of pregnancy or confinement and make her unfit for work.

Source: §54(1-4) of the Labour Act (Cap L1 LFN 2004)


Workers on maternity leave with at least six months of continuous service with the employer, are entitled to receive at least 50% of their normal wages. Payment during maternity leave is made by the employer.

Source: §54(1) of the Labour Act (Cap L1 LFN 2004)

Free Medical Care

The employer is not obliged to provide medical care for pregnant workers. It is not the duty of an employer to pay any expenses related to pregnancy and confinement of the worker. Prior to recruitment, every worker must be medically examined by a registered medical practitioner at the expense of the employer.

The maternity care is provided to insured worker employed continuously for at least six months by the same employer on provision of a medical certificate. Maternity care is provided for up to four live births. The scheme is managed by the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Source: §54(3) of the Labour Act (Cap L1 LFN 2004); ISSA Country Profile for Nigeria 2017

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