Nautilus International has published updated guidance to members on their maternity, paternity and parental rights as seafarers.
The revisions expand previous advice on a wide range of issues relating to maternity, paternity and parental rights, and reflect associated increased statutory payments. They also provide practical guidance on the special considerations that must be given to new or expectant mothers who work at night, and actions that must be taken under health and safety regulations if there are deemed to be risks associated with certain working conditions and hours of work.
The guide contains a revised 'need help' section which gives a brief overview of how to take your claims to UK employment tribunals, as well as handy links to further sources of information.
The updated Nautilus booklet also reflects the new M-notice relating to expectant mothers in the Merchant Navy and fishing vessels issued by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency — MGN 522, which replaces MGN 460.
General secretary Mark Dickinson outlined the importance of the guide: 'Nautilus believes that, in order to grow and prosper, the UK maritime industry should be open and welcoming to male and female workers, and make allowances for people's lives to change as they get older. Seafarers should, as a matter of principle, receive the same basic levels of employment protection that their shore-side colleagues enjoy.'
The guidance has been written with a focus on UK rights for new and expectant mothers, and UK paternity and parental rights and will mainly apply to seafarers working on UK-flagged vessels — but it should also be noted that many of these rights also apply to adoptive parents. If in doubt members should contact the Union for specific advice.
For those serving on non-UK vessels, the guide explains there are other sources of rights, depending on the individual's circumstances. Such rights may derive from the flag state, country of residence, collective bargaining agreements or company staff handbook or maternity/paternity policies.
Due to the nature of their work — often moving regularly between various countries — seafarers can face jurisdictional barriers in accessing employment-related rights. However it should be noted that the UK's maternity and paternity rights derive from EU law, so any seafarer serving on an European Economic Area (EEA)- registered vessel, residing in the EU or working for an EEA employer, may qualify for such rights in the relevant EEA member state. Members wanting further information about their own situation are advised to contact their industrial organiser in the first instance.
Nautilus director of legal services Charles Boyle said: 'It is hoped our members find the new guide useful, and we welcome any feedback.