NIGERIA – The National Industrial Court of Nigeria has made a ruling mandating Nigerian Breweries to include early retirement policy in its employee handbook, reports BeverageIndustryNews.

The ruling requires the brewing company to specify the pre-qualification, notice period and severance package in order to avoid litigation of the policy.

This follows claims by a former Export Manager that US$14,560.44 was wrongfully deducted from his severance package when he opted for early retirement under the company’s Early Retirement Policy.

Taking a defensive stance, the company indicated that that the deduction was valid as it was the sum equivalent to five months’ salary in lieu of his early retirement notice.

According to them, the complainant was not entitled to full payment of the severance package without such deduction under the policy.

“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.

“The ‘Exhibit CB5’ (handbook) is not helpful in this regard.

It is this kind of anomaly that triggers needless litigation (as in the instant case), and capable of brewing industrial disharmony,” said the ruling judge.

In the court’s ruling, the former manager awarded a sum equivalent to three months, noting that the sum represents the notice period established in evidence for exercise of termination right by an employee such status.

“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.

“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,” added the judge.