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The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Hours of Work) Regulations 2018

These Regulations will come into force on 6 April 2018 and will consolidate and update the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) Regulations 2002.

As with the existing framework, the 2018 Regulations will predominantly apply to sea-going UK ships, wherever they may be, and (to a limited extent) other EU ships whilst in a UK port.  The Regulations will not however apply to fishing boats, pleasure boats, warships or vessels which are not ordinarily engaged in commercial activities.

The 2018 Regulations will cover seafarers (anyone working on board a ship on ship's business, employed or otherwise, if they are engaged to provide services personally). The 2018 Regulations will not however apply to seafarers who are already subject to the Merchant Shipping (Working Time: Inland Waterways) Regulations 2013.

The 2018 Regulations set out minimum standards for seafarers' working conditions, which are to be secured by the shipowner, master or seafarers' employer, and include:

  • Rest periods: a minimum 10-hour rest period(s) in any 24-hour period, and 77 hours in any 7-day period. These rest periods must not be divided into more than two periods, one of which must be at least 6 hours long;

  • Annual leave: paid annual leave of 2.5 days per month and additional paid leave of eight days in each leave year. Seafarers can take their annual leave in instalments and the leave cannot be replaced by payment in lieu except on termination;

  • Employment tribunals: seafarers can enforce their right to paid annual leave at an employment tribunal. As with the previous framework, breaches of the provisions on working hours and rest breaks are enforced through criminal law.

In addition, the Regulations set out the requirement to maintain adequate records of the seafarers entitlements and preclude the "contracting out" of any of the minimum provisions, seeking to ensure that these minimum standards are maintained.

For more information, please contact Nicola Gray or Martin Sinclair or call 01224 632464.

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