Hours of work or rest

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The MLC and EU law make it possible to choose between regulating seafarers' hours of work or their hours of rest. Denmark has chosen solely to regulate seafarers' hours of rest.

Hours of rest per 24 hours and per week

The seafarer must have at least 10 hours of rest during a 24-hour working day, at least 6 hours of which must be consecutive. The 10 hours must be divided into a maximum of two periods of rest, and there must be a maximum of 14 hours between the periods of rest. Absence from work counts as rest only if it has a duration of at least 1 hour. A seafarer's total hours of rest in a week must amount to at least 77 hours. All periods of rest are included.

A working day is a 24-hour period commencing the first time the seafarer starts to work during a calendar day. A week is a consecutive period of 7 days. The Danish Maritime Authority can permit that the daily and weekly hours of rest are calculated within the calendar day (00.00-24.00 hours). A copy of the permit must be available on board.

Exemptions in case of recorded collective agreements

Watchkeeping seafarers or seafarers working on ships engaged on short voyages (such as ferry crossings) can be entitled to shorter periods of rest. However, this presupposes that a collective agreement has been concluded providing compensation in the form of more sparetime, compensation time or the like. The agreement must also take appropriate account of the seafarer's health and safety. The special collective agreement must not be used until it has been recorded by the Danish Maritime Authority. The recorded agreement must be available on board.

Exemptions in special cases

Seafarers on call must have a compensating period of rest if the normal period of rest is interrupted due to work and if such interruption without compensation of the employee means that the requirement for the rest hours of the 24-hour working day cannot be met.

Employees on call must have total hours of rest during the 24-hour working day of at least 10 hours. One of the periods of rest must amount to at least 6 hours.

Musters, fire and rescue drills and other prescribed drills must be carried out so that they interfere as little as possible with the seafarers' periods of rest and do not lead to fatigue. The total hours of rest during a 24-hour working day for a seafarer, irrespective of interruption, must be of at least 10 hours. One of the periods of rest must amount to at least 6 hours.

Exemptions can be granted from the provisions on hours of rest in unforeseen emergencies, for example when it is necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, those on board or the cargo or to assist other ships or persons in distress at sea. The decision is made by the master and, as soon as it is practicable, he or she must make sure that the seafarer has a sufficient period of rest.

Posters and recording of hours of rest

In an easily accessible place on board, a record must be posted with information about each function on board and about the employees’ periods of work at sea and in port, including watchkeeping periods for watchkeeping employees The seafarer's periods of rest must be recorded on a special rest hour form on an ongoing basis. The Danish Maritime Authority has issued forms of watchkeeping and rest hours in a standardised format. The forms are available as annexes to the order on hours of rest. If a shipping company wants an other format, this must be approved by the Danish Maritime Authority. The rest hour form must be kept in duplicate.

The master or a person authorised by him and the seafarer must sign the hours of rest form every month. At suit able intervals and when the service on board terminates, the seafarer must receive a signed copy of the rest hour form. The ship's copy must be kept on board for 6 months after the termination of the ship service.

The Danish Maritime Authority can permit that seafarers' rest hour data are recorded and kept electronically on board.



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