Government introduces new Bill to protect Seafarer workers when entering UK ports 

Contact Katy Christiansen

or reach out to a member of our Payroll & Employment, International team.

After the appalling actions of P&O in May of this year, the government has now introduced new legislation to ensure that seafarers are paid at least the National Minimum Wage. This new legislation, effective 6 July 2022, applies to any vessels and services who enter UK Ports at least every 72 hours on average or 120 times a year. The government says that for too long the companies could avoid NMW rules due to loopholes as they travel through international waters. 

The government passed the Bill and legislation on 6 July 2022. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department for Transport will all have a role in ensuring compliance along with HMRC when conducting compliance checks on payroll activities. 

Previously the Transport secretary Grant Shapps said “We will stop at nothing to make sure seafarers in UK ports are being paid fairly. P&O Ferries’ disgraceful actions do not represent the principles of our world-leading maritime sector and changing the law on seafarer pay protection is a clear signal to everyone that we will not tolerate economic abuse of workers. 

We will protect all seafarers regularly sailing in and out of UK ports and ensure they are not priced out of a job. Ferry operators that regularly call at UK ports will face consequences if they do not pay their workers fairly.” 

It is important that employers within this sector ensure they comply with the new rules. 

If you would like further information or would like to discuss the National Minimum Wage, please do not hesitate to contact Karen Thomson at, or contact Katy Christiansen or any of the Payroll & Employment Taxes team

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