No change in law for seafarers and National Minimum Wage, UK Chamber advises

The Government's newly issued 'Guide to the application of the Equality Act 2010 and National Minimum Wage for seafarers' does not make any change to legal entitlement for those working in UK waters, the UK Chamber of Shipping advises.

"The guide does not amend the law and there has been no change in the entitlement of any seafarer in respect of the National Minimum Wage or the Equality Act.  It is hoped that the clarification of the current position provided by the guide will be of use to companies and seafarers," says Tim Springett, policy director at the UK Chamber of Shipping, who specialises in employment issues. 

The new guidance is the first of its kind on the application of the National Minimum Wage specifically to seafarers. Advice issued in respect of seafarers has until now been included in general guides and was amended frequently - without consultation with the industry - in ways that led to uncertainty rather than clarity.  

"The new guide takes account of the UK's obligations under the International Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the generally observed custom under which coastal states do not impose laws on visiting ships that affect the internal economies of those ships," explains Tim Springett.

The Government's guidance advises that minimum wage law applies to seafarers:

  • When they are working on ships within UK waters and ports regardless of where the ship is registered, or where the worker ordinarily works or lives;
  • On a foreign ship for work performed outside the UK if they ordinarily work in the UK;
  • On UK registered ships if some of their work is in the UK and they live in the UK.

UK Border Force patrols will be handing out information to seafarers and employers in more than 50 languages promoting minimum wage law, the Department for Transport has said.

The new guidance can be downloaded in PDF form here.

For more information contact:

Tim Springett

Policy Director - Employment and Legal

020 7417 2820 / 07941 713465