The federal government has increased maternity leave from three to four months.
Chris Ngige, minister for labour and employment, disclosed this at the ongoing international labour congress (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said employers of labour, both private and public sectors, have been barred from sacking women from work either due to their marital or maternity status.
“Employers of labour in Nigeria are, by regulation, requested to provide workplace creches for nursing mothers for ease at workplace,” he said.
“In the public service, government recently increased the period for maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks, to allow enough recuperation for both baby and mother, especially in the area of breastfeeding.
“In addition, 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.
“Employers of labour are barred from removal of women from work due to their marital or maternity status.”
He said illegal labour migration, contract staffing and labour casualisation, which affect most women, are being reformed through policies and regulations at national, bilateral and multilateral levels.
“The ratification, domestication and implementation of the maternity protection convention No. 186 are conscious efforts to ensure that more women enjoy maternity protection in the country,” he said.
The minister added that 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”.
Ngige said the most effective method of eliminating gender inequality in the workplace lies in vigorous opposition to employers’ discriminatory conducts, policies and harassment.
“Women who fall victim to these abuses are encouraged to oppose such through legal actions and reporting to labour inspectors,” he said.
“The infusion into labour inspection guides laws and code of practice, with severe sanctions and serious punitive measures are prescribed as future deterrents.”