Pregnant woman

The federal government has increased maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 16, also advising women to seek legal action against discrimination and abuses at workplace.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said this when he addressed a plenary session at the ongoing 107th International Labour Conference holding in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Ngige had noted that in public service, Nigeria recently increased the period for maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks “to allow enough recuperation time for both baby and mother in terms of breastfeeding.”

He added that all disciplinary proceedings against any female member of staff which may have been taken during period of her maternity leave shall be put in abeyance till the expiration of the leave.

“Employers of labour are also barred from removal of women from work due to their marital status.

“Illegal labour migration, contract staffing and labour casualisation which affects most women are being reformed through policies and regulations at national, bilateral and multilateral levels,’’ he said.

Ngige said that the promotion of youths and women employment and enhancement of the status of women at workplace had continued to be a challenge in the society over the last decade.

According to him, the most effective method of eliminating gender inequality from the workplace lies in vigorous opposition to employers’ discriminatory conducts, policies and harassment in all forms whenever they occur.

“Women who fall victims to these abuses are encouraged to oppose such through legal actions as well as report to labour inspectors,’’ he said.