14 November 2023

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation ‘The Seafarers’ Wages Act 2023 part 1 - draft regulations and guidance’. This is the first of two consultations on the secondary legislation required to implement the Seafarers’ Wages Act and associated guidance.

The Seafarers’ Wages Act is designed to protect those working on ships operating a regular international service to/from the UK from being paid less than an equivalent to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) while in UK territorial waters. The act became law on 23 March 2023. It has been reported that secondary legislation is now needed to be introduced, to bring the provisions in the act fully into force.

This is a technical consultation and asks for views on whether:

  • the draft regulations reflect the policy intent
  • the draft guidance clearly explains the procedural aspects.

This is part 1 of the consultation process. It focuses on the areas of the regulations made under the act which cover the procedural matters:

  • declarations (timings, form and manner)
  • administration of surcharges (notification, timings and publication)
  • communication of refusal of access
  • specification of the responsible/relevant harbour authority.

The second part of the consultation will cover the rate of the surcharge that harbour authorities will be required to impose on the operator of a service (surcharge tariff) if the operator does not provide a declaration, and detail on the equivalent rate to the NMW. This is planned to be published in early 2024.

The easiest way to respond is via the online questionnaire. If you can’t respond online, there is also a downloadable form plus an email and postal address, under the ‘Ways to respond’ section on the page. This consultation closes on Monday 11 December 2023 at 11:59pm.


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