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MLC 2006 Regulation 2.2 - Mandatory Wage Requirements to Ensure that Seafarers are Paid for Their Services (Including 2018 Amendment)

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MLC 2006 Regulation 2.2 deals with the wages. Regular and full payment of wages earned and accounting, in detail, to the seafarer is a major obligation upon the shipowner. This is a matter subject to flag State inspection on all ships and for some ships also certification, and is also, potentially, subject to inspection in port States.

The MLC 2006 does not specify the legal form for implementation of this requirement as it refers to 'measures'. However it must be in a form that would be considered mandatory under the national legal system.

The MLC 2006 does not require that provisions be adopted to address either the calculation or level of wages. However if a country has adopted laws or regulations to govern the level and/or calculation of the wages of seafarers then Guideline B2.2 must be given due consideration.

The Standard A2.2 - Wages was amended in 2018 to have an additional paragraph (7).

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MLC 2006 Regulation 2.2 - Wages (Summary)


Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are paid for their services



  • You have the right to be paid regularly and in full, at least monthly, and in accordance with your employment agreement or CBA.
  • Your employer must provide you with a monthly account setting out payments due and amounts paid, including wages additional payments and the rate of exchange if the currency is different from that set out in the employment agreement.
  • Basic pay or wages means pay for normal hours of work, normally no more than 8 hours/day and not more than 48 hours/week. Basic pay should never be less than the recommended minimum wage.
  • If you are a member of a trade union, your wage will often be negotiated between your employer and your trade union on your behalf.
  • The ILO sets a recommended minimum wage for Able Seafarers based on a formula that takes into consideration changes in the cost of living and exchange rates against the US dollar in a range of maritime countries. It is used as a reference by shipowners and trade unions when agreeing wage scales.
  • No seafarer should be paid at a rate below the recommended ILO minimum.
  • Overtime: If you are required to work more than your normal hours of work you should get paid overtime. This should be covered by national law or your CBA and the rate of pay should be at least one and one quarter times the basic rate. . In some agreements the basic pay and overtime is consolidated into one sum in which case the same principles should apply.
  • Overtime records should be kept by the Captain and endorsed at least monthly by you. If you have to work on a day that is specified a day of rest or a public holiday either by national laws or the terms of your CBA, then you should be entitled to overtime payment or time off in lieu.
  • It is good practice to keep your own copy of overtime records in case of disagreement.
  • Your employer must ensure that you are able to send all or part of your earnings home. This could be by regular bank transfer of remittances agreed when you sign the contract. Remittances should be sent on time directly to the person or account nominated by you. You shouldn’t be expected to pay unreasonable charges for such services.

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Title 2. Conditions of Employment

Regulation 2.2; Code Standard A2.2 and Guideline B2.2


MLC 2006 Regulation 2.2 - Wages

Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are paid for their services
  1. All seafarers shall be paid for their work regularly and in full in accordance with their employment agreements.

Standard A2.2 - Wages

  1. Each Member shall require that payments due to seafarers working on ships that fly its flag are made at no greater than monthly intervals and in accordance with any applicable collective agreement.
  2. Seafarers shall be given a monthly account of the payments due and the amounts paid, including wages, additional payments and the rate of exchange used where payment has been made in a currency or at a rate different from the one agreed to.
  3. Each Member shall require that shipowners take measures, such as those set out in paragraph 4 of this Standard, to provide seafarers with a means to transmit all or part of their earnings to their families or dependants or legal beneficiaries.
  4. Measures to ensure that seafarers are able to transmit their earnings to their families include:
    1. a system for enabling seafarers, at the time of their entering employment or during it, to allot, if they so desire, a proportion of their wages for remittance at regular intervals to their families by bank transfers or similar means; and
    2. a requirement that allotments should be remitted in due time and directly to the person or persons nominated by the seafarers.
  5. Any charge for the service under paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Standard shall be reasonable in amount, and the rate of currency exchange, unless otherwise provided, shall, in accordance with national laws or regulations, be at the prevailing market rate or the official published rate and not unfavourable to the seafarer.
  6. Each Member that adopts national laws or regulations governing seafarers’ wages shall give due consideration to the guidance provided in Part B of the Code.
  7. (Note: Addition - 2018 Amendment to the Code of the MLC 2006, relating to Regulation 2.2 - Expected date of entry into force: Dec 26, 2020) Where a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, wages and other entitlements under the seafarers’ employment agreement, relevant collective bargaining agreement or applicable national laws, including the remittance of any allotments as provided in paragraph 4 of this Standard, shall continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity and until the seafarer is released and duly repatriated in accordance with Standard A2.5.1 or, where the seafarer dies while in captivity, until the date of death as determined in accordance with applicable national laws or regulations. The terms piracy and armed robbery against ships shall have the same meaning as in Standard A2.1, paragraph 7.

Guideline B2.2 - Wages / Guideline B2.2.1 - Specific Definitions

  1. For the purpose of this Guideline, the term:
    1. able seafarer means any seafarer who is deemed competent to perform any duty which may be required of a rating serving in the deck department, other than the duties of a supervisory or specialist rating, or who is defined as such by national laws, regulations or practice, or by collective agreement;
    2. basic pay or wages means the pay, however composed, for normal hours of work; it does not include payments for overtime worked, bonuses, allowances, paid leave or any other additional remuneration;
    3. consolidated wage means a wage or salary which includes the basic pay and other pay-related benefits; a consolidated wage may include compensation for all overtime hours which are worked and all other pay-related benefits, or it may include only certain benefits in a partial consolidation;
    4. hours of work means time during which seafarers are required to do work on account of the ship;
    5. overtime means time worked in excess of the normal hours of work.

Guideline B2.2.2 - Calculation and Payment

  1. For seafarers whose remuneration includes separate compensation for overtime worked:
    1. for the purpose of calculating wages, the normal hours of work at sea and in port should not exceed eight hours per day;
    2. for the purpose of calculating overtime, the number of normal hours per week covered by the basic pay or wages should be prescribed by national laws or regulations, if not determined by collective agreements, but should not exceed 48 hours per week; collective agreements may provide for a different but not less favourable treatment;
    3. the rate or rates of compensation for overtime, which should be not less than one and one-quarter times the basic pay or wages per hour, should be prescribed by national laws or regulations or by collective agreements, if applicable; and
    4. records of all overtime worked should be maintained by the master, or a person assigned by the master, and endorsed by the seafarer at no greater than monthly intervals.
  2. For seafarers whose wages are fully or partially consolidated:
    1. the seafarers’ employment agreement should specify clearly, where appropriate, the number of hours of work expected of the seafarer in return for this remuneration, and any additional allowances which might be due in addition to the consolidated wage, and in which circumstances;
    2. where hourly overtime is payable for hours worked in excess of those covered by the consolidated wage, the hourly rate should be not less than one and one quarter times the basic rate corresponding to the normal hours of work as defined in paragraph 1 of this Guideline; the same principle should be applied to the overtime hours included in the consolidated wage;
    3. remuneration for that portion of the fully or partially consolidated wage representing the normal hours of work as defined in paragraph 1(a) of this Guideline should be no less than the applicable minimum wage; and
    4. for seafarers whose wages are partially consolidated, records of all overtime worked should be maintained and endorsed as provided for in paragraph 1(d) of this Guideline.
  3. National laws or regulations or collective agreements may provide for compensation for overtime or for work performed on the weekly day of rest and on public holidays by at least equivalent time off duty and off the ship or additional leave in lieu of remuneration or any other compensation so provided.
  4. National laws and regulations adopted after consulting the representative shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations or, as appropriate, collective agreements should take into account the following principles:
    1. equal remuneration for work of equal value should apply to all seafarers employed on the same ship without discrimination based upon race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin;
    2. the seafarers’ employment agreement specifying the applicable wages or wage rates should be carried on board the ship; information on the amount of wages or wage rates should be made available to each seafarer, either by providing at least one signed copy of the relevant information to the seafarer in a language which the seafarer understands, or by posting a copy of the agreement in a place accessible to seafarers or by some other appropriate means;
    3. wages should be paid in legal tender; where appropriate, they may be paid by bank transfer, bank cheque, postal cheque or money order;
    4. on termination of engagement all remuneration due should be paid without undue delay;
    5. adequate penalties or other appropriate remedies should be imposed by the competent authority where shipowners unduly delay, or fail to make, payment of all remuneration due;
    6. wages should be paid directly to seafarers’ designated bank accounts unless they request otherwise in writing;
    7. subject to subparagraph (h) of this paragraph, the shipowner should impose no limit on seafarers’ freedom to dispose of their remuneration;
    8. deduction from remuneration should be permitted only if:
      1. there is an express provision in national laws or regulations or in an applicable collective agreement and the seafarer has been informed, in the manner deemed most appropriate by the competent authority, of the conditions for such deductions; and
      2. the deductions do not in total exceed the limit that may have been established by national laws or regulations or collective agreements or court decisions for making such deductions;
    9. no deductions should be made from a seafarer’s remuneration in respect of obtaining or retaining employment;
    10. monetary fines against seafarers other than those authorized by national laws or regulations, collective agreements or other measures should be prohibited;
    11. the competent authority should have the power to inspect stores and services provided on board ship to ensure that fair and reasonable prices are applied for the benefit of the seafarers concerned; and
    12. to the extent that seafarers’ claims for wages and other sums due in respect of their employment are not secured in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, 1993, such claims should be protected in accordance with the Protection of Workers’ Claims (Employer’s Insolvency) Convention, 1992 (No. 173).
  5. Each Member should, after consulting with representative shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations, have procedures to investigate complaints relating to any matter contained in this Guideline.

Guideline B2.2.3 - Minimum Wages

  1. Without prejudice to the principle of free collective bargaining, each Member should, after consulting representative shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations, establish procedures for determining minimum wages for seafarers. Representative shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations should participate in the operation of such procedures.
  2. When establishing such procedures and in fixing minimum wages, due regard should be given to international labour standards concerning minimum wage fixing, as well as the following principles:
    1. the level of minimum wages should take into account the nature of maritime employment, crewing levels of ships, and seafarers’ normal hours of work; and
    2. the level of minimum wages should be adjusted to take into account changes in the cost of living and in the needs of seafarers.
  3. The competent authority should ensure:
    1. by means of a system of supervision and sanctions, that wages are paid at not less than the rate or rates fixed; and
    2. that any seafarers who have been paid at a rate lower than the minimum wage are enabled to recover, by an inexpensive and expeditious judicial or other procedure, the amount by which they have been underpaid.

Guideline B2.2.4 - Minimum Monthly Basic Pay or Wage Figure for Able Seafarers

  1. The basic pay or wages for a calendar month of service for an able seafarer should be no less than the amount periodically set by the Joint Maritime Commission or another body authorized by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office. Upon a decision of the Governing Body, the Director-General shall notify any revised amount to the Members of the Organization.
  2. Nothing in this Guideline should be deemed to prejudice arrangements agreed between shipowners or their organizations and seafarers’ organizations with regard to the regulation of standard minimum terms and conditions of employment, provided such terms and conditions are recognized by the competent authority.

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check with ILO MLC 2006 for the latest requirements and accurate info

LAST UPDATED ON Dec 11, 2019

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