Undoubtedly, one out of the top five challenges businesses face globally is hiring the right workforce and retaining them.

One of the easiest ways to create a stable workforce in your business is by setting out in clear terms your expectations from your recruits before they come on board. This can be done through an agreement. 

In Nigeria, the Nigerian Labour Act 1971 is the principal law governing employment matters in Nigeria. The Act covers employees engaged under a contract of manual labour or clerical work in the private and public sectors. Other laws regulating employment contracts in Nigeria include; the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The National Industrial Court Rules, The Trade Union Act Cap T4 LFN 2004, Pension Reform Act 2014, Industrial Training Act Cap L9, etc.


Having a contract of employment for your employees does the following;

1. Gives your employees a sense of security that their welfare is taken care of.

2. Gives employees a clear picture of your expectations from them. Issues such as roles, work hours, holidays, lunch breaks, etc. are addressed in an employment agreement.

3. It also provides a clear picture of what your employees should expect from you while coming on board.

4. A contract of employment creates a positive impression of order in the way your business is run and as such, they will be compelled to handle your business operations that way.

5. Since your employees are more likely to gain access to your trade secrets, concerns such as; disclosing trade secrets to third parties are taken care of in an employment agreement.

6. Issues where employees stop working without any notice to their employers are dealt with effectively in such agreements.


Apart from a contract of employment, other legal documents to be considered while recruiting and managing employees after hire are;

  1. Offer of employment (during recruitment)
  2. Standard operating systems (after recruitment)
  3. Workplace policies/manuals (after recruitment)

It is recommended that employers run background checks on prospective employees for information such as educational qualification, medical history, criminal history, etc. before hiring. Such background checks should be done with the consent of the prospective employee.

Please bear in mind that an employment agreement connotes responsibilities from both employer and employee. This means that as an employer, you are to keep to your end of the bargain in order to make your employment terms effective. 

There is no point setting out your terms without any commitment to keep your end of the bargain.

Dear employer, do you have an employment contract? If you would like us to set up documents needed for recruiting and hiring employees, you may reach out to us HERE and we will be happy to assist you.

Cynthia Tishion
Cynthia is a lawyer and currently serves as Head of Corporate / Commercial Services at LEX – PRAXIS. With her passion for business and entrepreneurship, she is actively engaged in creating awareness on the legal aspect of businesses through various platforms such as writing, public speaking engagements.

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