Luxembourg was among the first Member States to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention
Seafarers under the age of 18 shall not be employed or engaged or work. No exceptions are allowed.
Seafarers shall not work on a ship unless they are certified as medically fit to perform their duties without causing any undue risk to their own health or that of the crew.
The medical examination must be in accordance with the ILO/WHO Guidelines for Conducting Pre-sea and periodic Medical Fitness Examinations for Seafarers.
Seafarer medical certificate(s) must be valid upon joining the ship.
A Medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of STCW 1978, as amended will be accepted. It must be issued by a duly qualified medical practitioner having full professional independence in exercising their medical judgment in undertaking medical examination procedures.
A duly qualified medical practitioner means:
- Licensed by a European Union State or a European Economic Area State in accordance with their national requirements;
- Licensed by a MLC State in accordance with national requirements;
- Licensed by a STCW White list State in accordance with national requirements;
- Recognized by the Luxembourg Maritime Authority.
The Medical certificate must state that the seafarer concerned:
- Has satisfactory hearing and sight, as well as colour vision where required by the nature of the work to be performed;
- Is medically fit to perform the assigned duties; and
- Is not suffering from any medical condition that is likely to be aggravated by service at sea or render the seafarer unfit for such service or to endanger the health of other persons on board.
The certificate for seafarers working on ships ordinarily engaged on international voyages must as a minimum be provided in English.
Luxembourg does not require a separate colour vision certificate.
The validity period of a medical certificate is:
- 2 year maximum for medical certificates;
- 6 year maximum for a separate colour vision certificate (if applicable).
Expiry of medical certificate during the course of a voyage
The certificate shall remain in force until the next port of call where the seafarer can obtain a new medical certificate provide this delay will not exceed three months.
In urgent cases, the Luxembourg Government’s Commissioner for Maritime Affairs may permit a seafarer to work without a valid medical certificate until the next port of call where a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner can be obtained, provided that:
- The period of such permission does not exceed three months;
- The seafarer concerned is in possession of an expired medical certificate of recent date.
Refused or Limited Renewal of Medical Certificate
Where a doctor refuses to renew a medical certificate or imposes time or geographic limits on its renewal, it is possible to request a new examination by another doctor provided the doctor is a qualified medical practitioner as defined above.
Seafarers shall not work on a ship unless they are trained and/or certified as competent or otherwise qualified to perform their duties on board ships. Seafarers must have successfully completed training for on-board personal safety.
All officers and ratings shall comply with the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW), as amended and the STCW Code.
To ensure seafarers have access to an efficient and well-regulated seafarer recruitment and placement system, they must have access to an efficient, adequate and accountable system for finding employment on board ship without charge to the seafarer.
Public (and private) services for the recruitment and/or placement of seafarers do not exist in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.
Shipowners are only allowed to use seafarers’ recruitment and placement services which conform to the Standard A1.4 and are:
- Established in a country which has ratified the Convention, and operating only in conformity with a standardized system or licensing or certification or other form of regulation, issued by the competent authority in that country.
- From States not party to MLC, 2006 whose conformity to the MLC can be fully demonstrated. The services must be in line with the standards set out in A1.4. This must be verified and, if necessary, documented by the shipowner (verification and certifications can be done by a duly recognized Recognised Organisation or an EU member state).
- Shipowners must also ensure, as far as practicable, that these requirements are respected by recruitment and placement services based in countries or territories where the Maritime Labour Convention does not apply.
No recruitment or placement fees
Private services for the recruitment and/or placement of seafarers shall not charge seafarers any fee for recruitment or placement or for providing employment to them, other than the cost of the seafarer obtaining a national statutory medical certificate, the national seafarer’s book and a passport.
The cost of obtaining any visas shall be borne by the shipowner.
Seafarer Employment Agreement
Before starting work, a Seafarers’ Employment Agreement (“SEA”) must be signed by both the seafarer and the shipowner or his representative. Where they are not employees, there shall be evidence of contractual or similar arrangements providing them with decent working and living conditions on board ship. Both the shipowner and the seafarer shall have a signed original of the SEA. The SEA may also incorporate or indicate any applicable collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”).
Proper arrangements shall be made to allow the seafarer to examine his employment agreement before it is signed and to seek advice on his duties and rights. These arrangements shall be clearly mentioned in the SEA.
Minimum SEA Requirements
The SEA must include the following:
- Seafarer’s full, name, date of birth or age, birthplace, habitual residence;
- Shipowner’s name and address. If the shipowner is a corporation, the name and registered office and, where applicable, the name under which the shipowner publicly operates;
- The place where and date when the seafarers’ employment agreement is entered into;
- The capacity in which the seafarer is to be employed;
- The amount of the seafarer’s wages or, where applicable, the formula used for its calculation;
- The termination date of the agreement and the conditions thereof, including:
- If the agreement has been made for an indefinite period the conditions entitling either party to terminate it, as well as the required notice period;
- If the agreement has been made for a definite period, the date fixed for its expiry; or
- If the agreement has been made for a voyage, the port of destination and the time which must expire after arrival before the seafarer should be discharged;
- Health and social security protection benefits to be provided to the seafarer by the shipowner (see below);
- The seafarer’s entitlement to repatriation;
- The appropriate or applicable CBA;
- Additional clauses on which the parties have agreed.
The SEA is governed by the law chosen by the parties and must comply with the minimum requirements of MLC Standard A2.1.4.
Seafarers shall be given a document containing a record of their employment on board the ship. This document shall not contain any statement as to the quality of the seafarers’ work or as to their wages.
A duly completed Luxembourg seaman’s book may satisfy this requirement and will be accepted as evidence by the Luxembourg Maritime Administration.
Availability of Information
Shipowners shall ensure that clear information regarding the conditions of employment of all seafarers can be easily obtained on board by all seafarers including the master, and that such information, including laws, copies of the SEA and any applicable CBA (with relevant English provisions), is also accessible for review by the Luxembourg Maritime Administration, authorized Recognized Organizations (“RO”), inspectors and authorized officers in the ports to be visited. Electronic copies of these documents are accepted.
Termination of Seafarers Employment Agreement
SEAs governed by Luxembourg Law
Indefinite term SEAs
Termination notice periods for indefinite term SEAs governed by Luxembourg law, for both the shipowner and the seafarer, are as follows:
- One week, if the seafarer has had a continuous period of service of less than three months with the same shipowner;
- Two weeks, if the seafarer has had a continuous period of service of between three months and three years with the same shipowner;
- Six weeks, if the seafarer has had a continuous period of service exceeding three years with the same shipowner.
Determinate-length SEAs governed by Luxembourg law cannot, in principle, be terminated prior to the expiry of the agreed upon period (the same applies to voyage contracts) without payment of severance.
However, such contracts may be terminated prematurely without notice or entitlement to severance under certain circumstances including:
- Serious misconduct;
- Mutual consent of the parties;
- Seafarers’ inability to perform the proposed job noted during the initial medical examination;
- The loss of the vessel, its officially confirmed unseaworthiness, its seizure or capture;
- The laying up of the ship or its extended stay at a shipyard (for more than 10 days);
- The seafarer disembarking for medical reasons including illness or injury;
- The ship being on route to an armed conflict area (as defined by the SEA or the CBA), to which the seafarer refuses to travel.
SEAs not governed by Luxembourg Law
If the Luxembourg law is not applicable to the SEA:
- The minimum notice required for termination of the SEA without penalty shall be 7 days, as fixed in the MLC, 2006.
- Circumstances leading to the termination of the SEA with a shorter notice period or immediately, and without penalty are only allowed for compassionate or other urgent reasons.
Seafarers must be paid for their work regularly and in full, in accordance with their employment agreement and at no greater than monthly intervals.
Seafarers are given a monthly account of the payments due and the amounts paid as well as any authorized deductions.
Shipowners are required to take measures to provide seafarers with a means to transmit all or part of their earnings to their families or dependents or legal beneficiaries.
Any charge for service shall be reasonable in amount and the exchange rate shall be at the prevailing market rate and not unfavourable to the seafarer.
Normal hours and overtime
Normal hours for calculating the basic pay shall not exceed 48 hours per week and overtime should be not less than one and one-quarter times the basic pay or wages per hour.
Hours of Work
The regular working hours for seafarers are set on the basis of an eight-hour day, with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays.
Unless otherwise provided in the SEA or CBA, the following Luxembourg public holidays shall be considered: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May, Ascent, Withsun Monday, 23 June (national Day), 15 August, 1 November, 25 December, 26 December.
Exception: A CBA may determine seafarers’ normal working hours on a basis no less favourable than above-mentioned standard.
Hours of Rest
Minimum hours of rest shall not be less than:
- 10 hours in any 24 hour period; and
- 77 hours in any seven-day period.
Hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which must be at least six hours. In addition, the interval between two consecutive periods of rest must not exceed 14 hours.
Seafarers on watch or other special assignments
For seafarers acting as officers of a watch or ratings being part of a watch, as well those assigned certain tasks related to safety, operations, prevention of pollution and security, a CBA may provide for exceptions to the limits set for rest hours according to the procedures and requirements laid down in paragraph 9 of Section A-VIII/1 of the STCW Code. In this case, the CBA must provide for compensatory measures in the form of more frequent or longer rest hours and leave and, where appropriate a minimum rest period at night time in order to ensure that seafarers are given an adequate period of rest. The CBA might specify the time frame of such compensations.
Shipowners shall ensure that musters, fire-fighting and lifeboat drills, security and oil-spill drills, safety & security exercises are conducted in a manner that minimizes the disturbance of rest periods, and do not induce fatigue.
Compensatory rest periods
Shipowners shall ensure that adequate compensatory rest periods are provided whenever the normal rest period is disturbed for call-outs to work, such as when a machinery space is unattended, during the usual hours of rest.
Unless otherwise provided in the SEA or the CBA, compensatory rest must be equal in time to the extra working period and shall be granted, as soon as practicable, but no later than within a seven (7) day period after the normal situation has been restored.
Schedule of service at sea
A schedule of service at sea and service in port must be displayed for all rankings on board, in a standardized format, and in the working language or languages of the ship and in any case in English. The shipboard working arrangements must be in line with Luxembourg regulations and the collective agreement and need to be posted in an easy and accessible location.
Recording work and rest hours
Seafarer’s daily work and rest hours must be recorded in a format approved by the Government Commissioner of maritime affairs or an RO acting on his behalf, in the working language(s) of the ship and in any case in English, and must be endorsed by both the seafarer (who receives a copy) and the master (or authorized person). Records must be taken and maintained for a minimum period of 3 years (electronic copies of these documents are accepted).
Work necessary for immediate safety
The master shall require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, persons on board or cargo, or for the purpose of giving assistance to other ships or persons in distress at sea. Accordingly, the master may suspend the schedule of hours of work or hours of rest and require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary until the normal situation has been restored. As soon as practicable after the normal situation has been restored, the master shall ensure that any seafarers who have performed work in a scheduled rest period are provided with an adequate period of rest.
Seafarers are entitled to file a complaint for alleged breaches of MLC, 2006 requirements, including seafarer rights.
Owners must provide for fair, effective and expeditious handling of seafarer complaints.
Where a complaint cannot be resolved on board or with the shipowner, a seafarer may lodge a complaint with the Luxembourg Maritime Administration.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs
19-21 boulevard Royal, L-2449 Luxembourg
Telephone (Office hours): + 352 2478 4453
Telephone (24/7): + 352 621 350490 / +352 621 501550
Facsimile: + 352 29 91 40