The international rules governing the minimum working and living rights for seafarers, the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), has been amended. The changes are known as the 2014 Amendments. We are seeking views on a proposal to update existing UK legislation taking into account these alterations.
The 2014 Amendments update the existing provisions to ensure the welfare of seafarers. For example, if a seafarer is abandoned, it deems it compulsory for the ship owner to cover the cost of maintaining and repatriating the person. In addition, the amendments expand the existing provisions on the ship owners’ liability for sickness injury or death in service. It will ensure that contractual compensation is paid in full and without delay to the seafarer or their representative.
We also propose making some small corrections to the existing UK legislation implementing the MLC and one amendment which could reduce the liabilities of the ferry industry for wages in case of seafarer sick leave.
Corrections and amendments to existing legislation:
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) intends to take this opportunity to make a number of relatively small corrections and amendments to the existing UK legislation for the MLC. These corrections and amendments, which are in Part 3 of the draft amending regulations, are listed in Annex A to the Regulatory Triage Assessment (RTA) accompanying this consultation.
Ship owner liability for wages in case of sickness (S.I. 2014/1613 reg 50):
There is one significant amendment which could substantially reduce the liabilities of ship owners for wages in cases of seafarers’ sick leave, particularly in parts of the industry with a high proportion of short-term employees.
The current legislation implementing Standard A4.2.3 and A4.2.4 requires payment of wages until the seafarer has been repatriated and then full basic wages for up to four months in certain circumstances, even when the seafarers’ existing contract ends before this period.
We propose to amend the current regulation to end liability on the natural termination date of a fixed term seafarer employment agreement if it is earlier than the end of the 16 week period. Also we suggest allowing the operation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) providing for payment of part wages during a period of sickness or injury (in compliance with A4.2.3 (b)). Such an agreement may differentiate between different groups of employees or other workers.
This proposal does not affect the entitlement of seafarers for wages until they have been repatriated in accordance with the Convention (A4.2.3 (a)).
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