Government set to enforce provision of crèches in offices
Suspends disciplinary actions against nursing mothers
There are indications that the Federal Government would begin to enforce the provision of crèches in every workplace, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has said.
In his intervention at the annual International Labour Conference yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, Ngige said all employers that include government and the private sector would be compelled to create crèches for nursing mothers in business premises to ease the pressure that comes with motherhood.His words: “Employers of labour in both the public and private sectors are by regulation requested to provide Work place crèches for nursing mothers for ease at work place‘
I bring you all warm greetings from the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”The Minister added that providing incentives for women to excel in their carriers has been a challenge in the last decade. He stated that for a country in which females constitute 49.4% of the total population of over 190 million, it is imperative that the issues which hinder increased and effective women participation in the labour force be properly addressed.
Ngige further submitted that specific measures to ensure equal pay for equal work for all, without discrimination on account of sex, is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended while the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) is equally meant promote girl/child school enrolment and also put in place special packages for women in the region for their economic empowerment.
He also hinted that government recently increased the period for maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks to allow enough recuperation time for both baby and mother, especially in the area of breast feeding.
In addition to these steps, the Minister said all disciplinary proceedings against any female staff which might have been taken during the period of her maternity leave shall be put in abeyance till the expiration of the leave while employers of labour are also barred from removal of women from work due to their marital or maternity status. He also mentioned that illegal labour migration, contract staffing and labour casualization which affect most women are undergoing reforms through policies and regulations at national, bilateral and multilateral levels.
Ngige hinted that work is ongoing with social partners and foreign donors to progressively extend social security coverage to the informal sector where majority of women operate.He was quick to call for caution saying, “however, a lot needs to be done in terms of putting in place appropriate legislation, policies and practices to deal with the gender gaps that inhibit greater participation of women in the labour force. The most effective method of eliminating gender inequality from the workplace lies in vigorous opposition to employers’ discriminatory conducts, policies and harassment 1n all forms wherever and whenever they occur. Women who fall victim to these abuses are encouraged to oppose such through legal actions and reporting to labour Inspectors.”
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