Reps seek 5 months leave for widows

Reps seek 5 months leave for widows

Reps seek 5 months leave for widows

A bill seeking to grant five months leave for female and male workers who lost their spouses has scaled second reading at the House of Representatives. 

 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sa’idu Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger) was titled, “A Bill for an Act to make Provision for Widowhood Leave to be given to Man or Woman whose Spouse died during the Subsistence of the Marriage to enable the Widow and Widower mourn the deceased Spouse and make immediate arrangements for the challenges ahead and for Related Matters (HB.401)”

 

The bill proposed that a widow is eligible for five months Widowhood leave while a Widower is eligible for Widowhood leave of one month with full pay in any of the two instances.

 

 It stated, “This bill shall apply to employees of both public and private sectors of the federation.”

 

In his lead debate at the plenary on Tuesday, March 19, Abdullahi said that death has a devastating effect on spouses when they lose their partners, as such they need time to mourn within a specified period.

 

Abdullahi noted that there is provision for mourning period for women only in most cultures and religions in Nigeria, hence the need to formally recognize and provide a legally recognized period for spouses to mourn the death of their partners.

 

“This crucial piece of legislation aims to address the pressing issue of supporting individuals who have lost their spouses, helping them navigate the challenging period of widowhood,” Abdullahi said while introducing the bill

 

He said that research findings had shown that in Nigeria, public sector organisations grant up to 14 days leave for workers who lost their spouses for the burials. 

 

He continued: “Therefore, one may say the 14 days prescribed by Public Sector Rules is sufficient but when one looks at the prevalent cultural and religious practices of Nigeria, it seems inadequate. 

 

“It is always necessary that an organisation looks at the cultural context as the way people mourn is deeply rooted in culture. 

 

“In Eastern Nigeria, for instance, the burial of the deceased usually takes place after a few weeks or months and the mourning period for a widow in modern times is three months, even though traditionally it is up to a year. 

 

“In Islam, while mourning is usually three days, the waiting period for a widow is up to four months.

 

“During this period the bereaved spouse receives visitors for at least a month. 

 

“Therefore, with our culture in view, giving a widower 30 days and a widow five months of widowhood leave for the death of a spouse may be reasonable.”

 

Rep. Ademorin Kuye, who supported the bill, recalled what his mother went through when their father died while they were young as she had to resign from her job to observe the mourning period.

 

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas referred the bill to the House Committee on Public Sector Reforms for further legislative actions.

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