Conditions for harbour access and seafarers’ pay-rates: scope and compliance – Consultation outcome

Consultation summary – Proposes new legislation on wage protection for seafarers working on ships that regularly visit UK ports.

Consultation description

We are seeking views on proposed new legislation on seafarers’ wage protection. This protection would be achieved by introducing conditions for access to UK ports.

The legislation would mean that seafarers would be paid an equivalent, at least, to the national minimum wage when in UK waters.

This consultation seeks views on the:

  • scope of the services to which the new legislation should apply
  • compliance processes, including powers of enforcement

An impact assessment of the proposals is included.

Detail of outcome

Feedback from this consultation provided us with useful information and perspectives that have helped shape our policy.

As a result, we will introduce legislation to Parliament as soon as the legislative timetable allows to grant protection to seafarers working on services that regularly use UK ports, by making access to UK ports conditional on operators of frequent services evidencing that the seafarers onboard are remunerated at a rate that is no less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) equivalent while in UK waters.

Services calling at UK ports no less than once every 72 hours on average throughout the year will be required to provide a declaration to the relevant Statutory Harbour Authorities (SHAs) that they are paying their seafarers at least at a rate equivalent to the National Minimum Wage (NMWe), calculated according to regulations made using powers provided by this bill.

SHAs will be empowered to levy a surcharge where valid declarations are not made, and in the event the surcharge is not paid, suspend access to the service harbour. The Secretary of State will also have powers to direct SHAs to suspend access.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will play an enforcement role in checking the validity of declarations through a combination of risk-based, intelligence-led and random spot checks.

The Secretary of State will have powers to make regulations to specify the NMWe rate and the form, contents and manner of the same, as well as have powers to give guidance and issue directions to SHAs as to how to exercise their powers under the Act.

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