Nigerian News

House of Reps move to grant 5-month mourning leave to widows

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill for an Act to provide for the implementation of a Widowhood Leave Bill in Nigeria.

Hon. Said Musa Abdullahi, representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha federal constituency of Niger State, sponsored the bill titled “Widowhood leave bill, 2023″.

Debating the importance of the bill on Tuesday, he said introducing Widowhood Leave acknowledges the unique challenges faced by widows and widowers.

He proposed that widows be granted 5 month leave, while 4 months should be approved for widowers. The lawmaker said it will provide them with the necessary time and space to grieve, seek counseling, and adjust to the new realities.

Abdullahi noted that widows and widowers in Nigeria face numerous challenges following the loss of their spouses, which included single-handedly catering for their children and attend to pressing family matters.

The lawmaker said in part; “You will recall that this Bill was presented and scaled first reading on the floor of this hallowed Chamber on July 27th, 2023. 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.

“This Bill is divided into five clauses. The first clause specified the period of leave that is formally grantable to a widow and widower with full entitlement to their pays. The second clause defines the persons who are eligible for the leave and the third clause states the punishment for the violation of the Bill.”

He added; “Widowhood legislation has been enacted in many countries around the world, for instance, widows are entitled to 15 days of paid leave in India, while widows are entitled to 60 days of leave with pay in Philippines.

“Widowhood Leave is a demonstration of a commitment to supporting employees during times of personal crisis. By providing this benefit, employers can foster a positive work culture, enhance employee loyalty, and improve overall workplace morale.

“It ensures that individuals have the opportunity to address any financial matters, such as accessing insurance benefits, updating legal documents, and managing household finances etc.

“In conclusion, the consideration of a Widowhood Leave Bida is a crucial step towards providing support, compassion, and assistance to individuals traversing the challenging journey of widowhood.

“By supporting this legislation, we demonstrate our commitment to promoting emotional well-being, financial stability, workplace productivity, and religious obligations. In addition, this legislation would serve as a beacon of support, offering widows the opportunity to heal, seek counseling if needed, and rebuild their lives without the added stress of work obligations. I urge all members of this hallowed legislative chamber to support the bill and stand in solidarity with those who have experienced the sympathetic situation.”