His Lordship, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien of the Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court has ordered Debirus Educational Services to pay its former staff, Mr. Jude Ojo, the sum of One Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand Naira being the earned leave bonus from 2010 to 2018.
The Court held that the payment of the leave bonus has never been at the discretion of the employer as argued by the firm counsel, dismissed the company claim on damages for lacking merit.
From facts, the claimant’s Jude Ojo had submitted that according to the terms of his employment, he was entitled to annual leave of 20 working days on full remuneration from 2010 up till 2018 when he resigned.
He further stated that the firm did not grant him leave from 2010 to 2014 but only granted 10 working days from 2015 to 2018 and paid no leave allowance or remuneration to the claimant from 2010 to 2018. He claimed his entitlement to leave allowance equal to his full remuneration in the sum of N1,195,000 from 2010 to 2018 when he resigned his appointment.
The claimant also claimed that he is entitled to full salary for the month of each year, especially from 2010 to 2014 when he remained at work instead of being on leave.
In defence, the company maintained that no provision for leave bonus or 13th-month salary in the contract of employment that the Ojo’s enjoyed his full leave period during his employment contrary to his assertion, counterclaimed against Ojo for the sum of N300,000.00 as solicitors fees and N500,000 damages for the failure to give notice of resignation.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien held that parties are bound by the agreement they voluntarily enter into and a party cannot go outside the agreement to set up a case that is inconsistent with it.
“It is necessary to state that ‘leave accumulates gradually during the year and any unused leave will roll over from year to year, as in this case. Annual leave allows an employee to be paid while having time off from work.
“I am satisfied that the claimant has been able to prove his entitlement to the sum of N1,195,000 being the claimant leave bonus from 2010 to 2018. Judgement is hereby entered in the sum of N1,195,000 in favour of the claimant against the defendant in this action.
Lastly, the Court dismissed other claims and counterclaim for lacking merit and failure to discharge the burden of proof placed on them by law.