Seafarers' employment agreements

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A written employment contract must be concluded between the seafarer and the shipowner or the employer or the one who has assumed the responsibilities of the shipowner or the employer. The contract must be concluded no later than at the start of the employment; and for ship-employed seafarers no later than at the start of the ser­vice on board. The seafarer must have a chance of going through the employment contract and seeking advice about its terms before signing it.

Contents of the employment contract

The seafarer must receive a copy of the employment contract signed by the shipowner/employer or the one who has assumed the responsibilities of the shipowner or the employer. There is no requirement for a special form of the seafarer's employment contract.
The employment contract must contain information about all conditions of importance to the employment as they are stipulated in the order issued by the Danish Maritime Authority. When the seafarer or the employer terminates the employment, the date hereof as well as how the employment has been terminated must be given in writing.

As regards some of the information about the employment, the shipowner's information obligation is considered met if the employment contract refers to acts, administrative provisions or collective agreements pertaining to the relevant conditions.
If a collective agreement constitutes the entire or parts of the seafarer's employment contract, the shipowner must ensure that a copy of this collective agreement is available on board. As regards ships engaged on international voyages, only the parts of or the collective agreements subject to port State control inspections must be available in English.

A copy of the employment contract must be available on board

The seafarer must bring along or, before the ship's departure, procure a copy of the employment agreement for the master, who must keep it on board for as long as the employee serves on board. The seafarer's signature must be evident from the copy when it is handed over on board. As regards ships engaged on international voyages, an English copy of any standard form used must also be available on board.

The master must ensure that a copy of the act and the provisions issued pursuant hereof is available on board in Danish and English and is available to the seafarers.

Discharge books

Discharge books are issued by the Danish Maritime Authority in accordance with ILO Convention no. 108 on seafarers' identity documents (1958) to persons who are Danish citizens and have turned 16 years of age.

Upon request, the master must confirm the employment relationship through an endorsement in the relevant person's discharge book or in another manner, for example through a special declaration (declaration on seagoing service).

A filled in discharge book or a written declaration from the master is to be considered sufficient recording of the seafarer's employment to be in compliance with Standard A2.1, paragraph 1e.

Notice of termination

Able-bodied seafarers must be given or give 7 days' notice unless otherwise agreed by contract or by collective agreement. The seafarer can have a shorter notice than the shipowner, but not the other way around.
Ship's officers must in general be given or give 3 months' notice if the officer is engaged through an open-ended contract. However, the shipowner's notice cannot be less than 1 month during the first year. If the officer is en­gaged on a time contract, the notice will typically be shorter and in general either 1 month or 7 days. Just as is the case for able-bodied seafarers, shorter notice cannot be agreed for the shipowner than for the officer.

Resignation/dismissal (unilateral termination of the contract without notice before the expiry of the employment period)

By the seafarer

The act contains a number of provisions entitling the seafarer to terminate the contract without notice (resigna­tion). For example in cases where the ship is unseaworthy, is to call at a port with a virulent epidemic or no longer flies the Danish flag. In each individual case, certain conditions must be met that are described in more detail in the individual provisions of the act. Thus, the regulation of Standard A.2.1, paragraph 6, is met.

By the shipowner

Furthermore, the act contains provisions entitling the shipowner/master to terminate the seafarer's employment without notice in case of, for example, incompetence, missing the ship, gross neglect by the seafarer, repeated disobedience, violent behaviour or drunkenness on board, etc. Thus, the regulation in Standard A.2.1, paragraph 6, is met.

Special regulations apply to the master meeting the requirements of Standard A.2.1, paragraph 6.



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