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How to use employment bonds, by chartered secretaries

Immediate past chairman, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) Lagos State Chapter, Otunba Francis Meshioye (left); Chairperson, Mrs. Abiola Laseinde; guest speaker, Bimbo Atilola; Legal Director/Company Secretary, Unilever Nigeria Plc., Mrs. Bidemi Ademola and Vice Chairman, ICSAN, Tony Okonmah; during the institute’s training programme in Lagos

The Lagos State Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has charged company secretaries in the country to ensure that employment bonds are not violated as bonded employees should have choices.

It gave the charge at a training workshop in Lagos, adding that Section 34 (1) (c) of the 1999 Constitution provides that individuals are entitled to respect and dignity and to that extent no person shall be required to perform forced labour.

“This therefore, leaves employment bonds with no violations, because employees on bond have a choice. So, it’s not really forced labour in the strict sense of the word,” the group stated.

A legal practitioner and labour law consultant, Bimbo Atilola dissected employment bonds, their legitimacy and enforceable conditions in the management of human resources in organisations.

Atilola noted that the legal issues in employment bonds usually require employees to refund the bond value should they desire to leave before the expiration of the bond, adding: “The employer sometimes insists on a guarantor for the bond, especially where the employee is unable to pay the bond value.”

Other conditions for the enforceability of employment bond, he explained, include making the duration reasonable, as well as ensuring that the bond is entered into prior to the training and not afterwards, otherwise it would amount to a past consideration, which is not enforceable in law.

Other issues discussed at the workshop include the corresponding rights, duties and obligations flow from both parties to the employment contract and legal issues involved in manpower outsourcing.

Atitola stressed that employee’s handbook in the work place is crucial, as it constitutes an integral part of the employment contract which should be enforceable between the parties to an employment, all of which cannot be defined in the offer of employment.

Also speaking, Legal Director and Company Secretary of Unilever Nigeria Plc, Bidemi Ademola said company secretaries have a critical role to play, especially in managing board expectations to deliver optimal results.

She noted that the company secretaries are at the centre of all board activities and emphasised the need for them to see the importance of being fully equipped with technical, communication, leadership and management skills to discharge their duties in influencing and managing expectations.

“Company secretaries should be on top of their games by creating a charter, driving the agenda for meetings with contributions, engaging the board Chairman in directing meetings through feedback from internal and external stakeholders, while giving continuous induction, education and training to the board,” she added.


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Bimbo AtilolaICSAN


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