Bill to protect domestic workers, employers passes second reading in Senate

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Bill to protect domestic workers, employers passes second reading in Senate

The bill to provide for documentation and protection of domestic workers and employers has passed second reading in Senate.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Hussaini Babangida (Jigawa North West), while presenting the lead debate, said it was important to have a legislation to guide the employment of domestic workers as well as employers in Nigeria.

He said it was worriesome that Nigeria had no law to protect the rights of domestic workers and protection of their employers.

According to him, the bill which passed first reading on Nov. 21, 2023, will help get comprehensive biometric data of domestic workers to check increased level of criminal activities linked to them.

He added that the bill when passed into law, would “help to keep track of migration of domestic workers from other countries, from state to state and from one employer to another employer for security purposes.”

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Contributing, other lawmakers supported the bill.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, said the bill was apt, in view of the need for orderliness in the manner in which domestic staff were being engaged.

He said, “their rights are not respected though there are good employers.

“There is need for documentation for protection of domestic staff and employers because some employers have been killed also.

“When passed into law, it will help because it is in line with international best practice.

“This is done in other countries and we should also emulate it,”he said.

Sen. Adams Oshiomole (Edo North) said, “It is almost impossible to imagine the number of Nigerians who have been abused and brutalised and the country has no record.

“There was a time I employed security guards and they brought their brothers to replace them and we started having some security challenges because I do not know them.

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“Sometimes we employ people we do not know.

“With this bill, when we employ, it will be documented and there should be appropriate remuneration.”

Sen. Simon Lalung (Plateau South), said the bill was “timely and appropriate.

“A few months ago, I was the Minister of Labour and I was in Geneva to represent the President and part of the focus was on decent work.

“There is a need for decent job so there is a need for legislation for the downtrodden.

“We all need domestic staff but we neglect them and think that our children are more human than they are.

“There is a need to see them as human beings but we need to align with Ministry of Labour rather than creating a commission for them.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, said “It is a very popular bill and it is a win win situation.”

He further said the act of parliament would help in protecting the rights of domestic workers and also help employers to know who they engage.

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Akpabio also said the bill when passed into law, would help with security.

According to him, it is a risk to families and the country to bring people from other countries to work without knowing them.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity to be returned to plenary within four weeks.

 

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