The National Industrial Court of Nigeria has ordered Nigerian Breweries Plc to include its early retirement policy in its staff Handbook.
Justice Ogbuanya ordered the firm to specify the pre-qualification, notice period and severance package in order to avoid litigation of the policy.
A former employee and Export Manager, Bala Muhammed, had claimed that N5.3 million was wrongfully deducted from his severance package when he opted for early retirement under the company’s Early Retirement Policy.
An accusation the company vehemently denied. Noting that the deduction was valid as it was the sum equivalent to five months’ salary in lieu of his early retirement notice.
The firm added that Muhammed was not entitled to full payment of the severance package without such deduction under the policy.
Justice Ogbuanya awarded a sum equivalent to three months to the claimant, noting that the sum represents the notice period established in evidence for exercise of termination right by an employee of Muhammed’s status.
The Judge ruled that it should be unequivocally and clearly written in the major employment relations documents, such as the HR policy document of the company as well as the employee handbook.
“I find that there is no comprehensive policy document maintained by the defendant company evidencing the key aspects of the Early Retirement Policy, such as qualifying conditions, notice period and severance packages.”
“Accordingly, I take this opportunity to direct the defendant to take immediate steps to include and incorporate in the defendant’s HR policy and employee handbook the entitlement conditions and packages for early retirement as well as the exit notice period as expressed in the memo dated 20th October 2014, Ref.ERM.1222/2285 issued by the Head, Employee Relations.”
Nigerian Breweries Plc is the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria. It serves the Nigerian market and exports to other parts of West Africa.