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An employee’s employment relationship and pay to be secured in the event of maritime piracy

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 8.4.2020 14.23 | Published in English on 15.4.2020 at 15.24
Press release

The Government proposes amendments to the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act that would ensure the continuation of the employee’s employment relationship and salary payment in a situation where the employee is imprisoned as a result of piracy or armed robbery against the ship.

The proposed amendments to the national law are based on provisions added to the regulations of the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention in 2018. The Government proposes that Parliament adopt the amendments to the regulations of the International Maritime Labour Convention, and the Act implementing these amendments.

The Act on the implementation of amendments and amendments to national legislation are scheduled to enter into force on 26 December 2020 when the amendments to the regulations of the Maritime Labour Convention will enter into force internationally.

Responsible shipping companies already comply with the regulations

The Maritime Labour Convention sets out international minimum maritime labour standards for terms of employment, accommodation and recreational opportunities, food and food supply, health protection, and social security.

Amendments to the regulations of the Maritime Labour Convention were adopted at the 2018 International Labour Conference. Their purpose is to ensure the continuity of seafarers’ employment contracts and salary payments in the event of piracy or armed robbery against a ship. In these situations, seafarers may be imprisoned for long periods of time.

Finnish vessels do not, to a significant extent, sail in high risk areas for piracy. In practice, responsible shipping companies already operate in the manner referred to in the proposed Act. However, adoption of the amendments to the regulations by Finland and their implementation requires that the matter is laid down in an act.

Other specifications to acts on maritime labour

The Government also proposes more detailed specifications to the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act, Seamen’s Working Hours Act and the Act on Working Hours on Vessels in Domestic Traffic, which are required by the existing provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention regulations. These concern the appeal procedure on board the ship, and matters concerning working hours and rest periods.

In addition, technical amendments are proposed to the Seamen’s Annual Holidays Act, the Act on Seamen’s Service, and the Act on Compensation with State Funds for Travel Expenses for Seafarers.

The amendments are scheduled to enter into force on 1 July 2020.

Inquiries:
Elli Nieminen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 247

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