How to Recover Unpaid Salary from an Employer in Nigeria

How to Recover Unpaid Salary from an Employer

If you are reading this article, then the chances are that you or someone you know has stopped working for an employer, but is still being owed salary and other benefits. We would love to say that this is a very rare occurrence in Nigeria, but unfortunately, we cannot say this. Employers owing their previous employees months in salary arrears is quite rampant, and that is why we have decided to share this article which details what steps you can take to recover unpaid salary from a previous employer.

In recovering what is owed to you, it is always quicker and easier to try to obtain it amicably. However, in trying to obtain your unpaid salary and wages you should also begin to prepare for the possibility that you might have to involve the courts (or at least plant that seed in the minds of your former employer). Remember always that the goal is to get what is owed to you, and not to get drawn into an unnecessarily acrimonious dispute. Once you have that at the back of your mind, you can execute a strategy that optimises your chances of getting your salary and wages paid.

Therefore, we suggest that you follow the following steps in order to recover unpaid salary and wages from your previous employer:

  1. Send a letter of demand which should state
  • the name and address of both you,
  • how much is owed,
  • a date by which you expect payment (at least 7 days, but we suggest 14 days)
  • a request that your former employer puts in writing any issue or dispute they have with your statement on what is owed
  • A clear statement informing them that if payment is not made within the period stated, you will have no choice but to involve your lawyers
  • Explain that they will be liable to pay for any costs incurred by you in trying to obtain this money owed to you (including the costs of hiring a lawyer)
  1. Send the letter by a means that ensures delivery to your former employer, for example by using a courier service where the letter has to be signed for. We have created a free template which you can use here. Download the Unpaid salary recovery Letter.
  1. If the period for payment which you have set elapses, then you should take all the documents you have – employment contract, the demand letter, and any response(s) from your former employer, and then decide whether to report the employer to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity.

3a. If you decide that you want to report the employer, you can follow the process as laid out here to make a complaint –

3b. If you decide that the more important step is to recover the money through a lawyer, then you will need to collate all the documentation and speak to a lawyer.

Thank you for reading this article, we hope you have found it useful. If you have please share with your network using one of the share buttons below.


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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.

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