When we work in the field of providing legal services to seamen, we regularly encounter situations in which the departing sailor and his or her family members do not know their rights. They face the consequences when their rights are violated and their protection requires considerable time, effort, and finances.
Examples of such situations include non-payment of wages and the refusal of the shipowner to arrange for repatriation to his or her homeland, withholding the cost of repatriation from the salary of a seaman, injury, illness or death on board, loss of service, etc. We suggest that seamen take care in advance of the observance of their rights and the rights of their families.
Maritime lawyers are ready to provide you with advice on the above issues, as well as legal assistance in collecting monetary compensation and insurance.
In our opinion, before signing a contract of employment, a seaman should carefully study its provisions, as well as clarify for him or herself the issue of insurance of life and health.
In this regard, to begin with, we bring to your attention the contents of the norms of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) that define such concepts as an employment contract, a contract, and a collective agreement.
In accordance with The General Maritime Law of the United States (“GML”), an employment contract is an agreement between an employee and the owner of an enterprise, institution, organization, or an authorized body or individual in accordance with which the employee undertakes to perform the work defined by this agreement in compliance with the internal labor schedule, and the owner of the enterprise, institution, organization, or the body or individual authorized by him is obligated to pay wages and provide working conditions necessary for the performance of work provided, i.e. labor legislation, collective agreement, and the parties’ agreement.
A special form of an employment contract is a contract in which the period of validity, rights, obligations and responsibilities of the parties (including material), the conditions of material support and organization of work of the employee, the conditions for termination of the contract, including premature, can be established by agreement of the parties. The scope of the contract is determined by the General Maritime Law of the United States (“GML”)
The following are the most important aspects that you need to pay attention to before signing a contract.
- The contract on the part of the shipowner must be signed by an authorized person and sealed. The contract must also indicate the full name and location of the shipowner, the name of the vessel, and its flag;
- Types of work and salary: The position, duties, and salary specified in the contract must comply with the conditions of employment agreed with the seaman;
- Term of the contract: The term of the contract must correspond to the period agreed in advance, it must be clearly established, there should be no wording according to which the employer reserves the right to “keep” the seafarer on the ship for an indefinite period of time;
- Working hours, overtime: The normal working hours and the rate (or coefficient) that should be paid for work outside this time should be clearly defined. If the contract provides for the payment of a constant monthly amount, including the payment of overtime hours, check the number of hours provided for by this amount, and whether hours worked in excess of this number will be paid at the rates for overtime hours;
- Payments in connection with illnesses, injuries, disability and death: the grounds for their payment must be provided, their recipient, size.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Lawyer Today
If you have questions about work contracts as a seaman, contact the attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.