House Of Reps Considers Bill Seeking Paid Leave For Widows, Widowers

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A bill seeking to provide five months of leave for a widow and 30 days for a widower passed the second reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Naija News reports that the leave is to enable the widow and widower to “mourn the deceased spouse and make immediate arrangements for the challenges”.

The bill is sponsored by Saidu Abdullahi, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Finance and the lawmaker representing the Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency of Niger State.

According to Abdullahi, the bill proposes that a widow is entitled to five months of widowhood leave, while a widower is entitled to one month of leave “both with full pay.”

The bill also proposes that widow and widower leave “shall apply to employees” of the federation’s public and private sectors and that a Chief Executive of a private or public sector or their representative who violates the provision of this bill shall be liable to be penalised by the regulatory body or other bodies.

The bill does not provide clear punishments for would-be violators of the proposed law.

While leading the debate on the bill, Abdullahi said widows and widowers in the country face “numerous challenges” following the loss of their spouses.

The lawmaker said the “crucial piece of legislation” aims to address the pressing issue of supporting individuals who have lost their spouses, helping them navigate the challenging period.

Justifying the provisions of the bill, the lawmaker said widowhood legislation has been enacted in many countries around the world.

He said widows are entitled to 15 days of paid leave in India and 60 days with pay in the Philippines.

The legislator said the Nigerian Labour Act, 2004, does not explicitly provide any form of leave covering widowhood leave, stressing the need to review the law.

Speaking in support of the bill, Ademorin Kuje (APC-Lagos) said the bill will give legal backing to traditional practices in the country.

The bill was unanimously voted for when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas.

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