Working at sea 

The conditions of seamen’s employment contracts differ from other employment relationships. They are laid down in the Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act.

The Act applies to work that an employee carries out under a contract on a Finnish vessel or, by order of the employer, temporarily elsewhere. The Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act is a basic law that applies to the rights of obligations of both the employer and the employee.

Working hours of seamen are laid down separately for foreign and domestic transport. The annual holidays and pay security of seamen are also laid down in separate laws. The Uusimaa ELY Centre provides more information on the wage guarantee  of seamen.

Legislation that pertains to seafaring is prepared by the trilateral Advisory Board on Seamen's Affairs. The Finnish Seamen's Service is responsible organising services and study activities available for seamen.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has laws and decrees on maritime safety and environmental conservation. The health requirements of seamen are also stricter than the average requirements for people engaged in other types of work. Matters related to the seaman's medical examination fall under the administrative sector of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

ILO, Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, as amended, 2019

Below is a model of a seaman’s contract of employment (Finnish, Swedish and English) and information on complaint procedures on board. See also permits and notifications/shipping (, Osha).

Further information

Guidance and supervision of legislation (partly): Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Nico Steiner, nico.steiner(at), Katariina Jämsén, katariina.jamsen(at), Katja Peltola, katja.peltola(at)