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Crew Employment Services Guernsey | Business Continuation | COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and is probably set to do so for some time, we thought it would be useful to provide some helpful information indicating how your employment might be impacted and what the current situation is here in Guernsey.

Guernsey is about to enter the next stage of its covid-19 precautions which involves the closing down of all educational establishments until at least the end of the planned Easter holidays in April.

We are fortunate that so far only twenty cases have been confirmed on the island and as of Thursday19th March all non-essential travel was stopped and any persons arriving on the island will have to enter a 14 day self-isolation phase, whatever country they have travelled from.

From our perspective we have already sent high-risk employees to work from home and with effect from Monday 23rd March some 75% of our teams will also be working from home which is a precautionary measure in order to ensure adequate “social distancing” in the office.

Because of this arrangement and despite our having ensured that all appropriate hardware etc. is available, there will inevitably be some communication delays and we would therefore ask that unless it is urgent rather than call the office, please send an email to the person you wish to contact who will then call you back as soon as possible. We are currently working on the March payroll as a priority.

Working As A Team to Support You
From an operational perspective we have obviously prioritised the paying of wages and for the past weeks we have been ensuring that we can continue to provide this service under 100% remote working conditions so that should we be placed in that position service can continue regardless. We are working closely with Hill Robinson, your managers and your owner to ensure you receive your March salary in a timely manner. You may even have been paid earlier this month!

We are dealing with queries from seafarers who find themselves either unable to join or to leave their vessel and we appreciate that every case is different dependent upon all the varying factors under which we work as an industry in terms of location etc. Please bear with us as we work to resolve your situation.

We are under no illusion that this is going to be a challenging time for all concerned, for various reasons and varying degrees and by the nature of this being a global pandemic everybody in every nation faces the same issues and therefore there is a deep and full understanding.

Please be assured we are in contact with Flag states, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions to ensure that business as usual can be maintained as much as possible.

This is a unique situation and many rules are having to be introduced/changed overnight to cope as a result however most Governments are committed to ensuring that any individuals who suffer particular hardship will be compensated in some way shape or form and it is worth looking at your own personal authorities to see if there is any assistance available or about to be made available by your home government. We strongly recommend that all crew travel is kept to a minimum unless absolutely necessary because not only are there the health concerns to worry about but also there are many restrictions in place in most countries and also very few flights available.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

From the queries we have had from our employees, please see below some of the common FAQ’s;

My SEA period is complete and I have worked my notice but there are no flights to repatriate me. Does my employer have to keep paying me and providing food and accommodation until I can be repatriated?
Generally speaking an employer is obliged to arrange for your repatriation which includes ensuring that all food, accommodation and travel is arranged for you. As regards your salary this will be dependent upon the terms and conditions within your SEA but we are working on a case by case basis to ensure this doesn’t happen. It may be that it is better for you to stay working a little longer or to leave earlier. Talk to your Captain who will help arrange the best option for you.

If I am at home awaiting to join a yacht but unable to travel through no fault of my own do I get paid because I am wanting to work?
This will rely entirely upon your contractual terms and conditions which will state from when you receive pay. We are working closely with your managers and owners to find an arrangement that works for everyone in this difficult time. Each situation varies and will be dealt with on a case by case basis and we’re working hard to do the best we can for the crew we employ but the reality is that the current situation may mean that unpaid leave is the only option for some owners. Again should you not be eligible for pay whilst waiting to join a vessel many Governments are establishing support schemes for employees who are unable to work as a result of the pandemic so it is worth checking your local situation anyway.

My relief is unable to join the yacht because of travel restrictions, do I get compensated for working extra time? How this is handled will depend on the terms and conditions of your employment but you would be compensated.
This will either be with financial compensation or extra leave to be taken at a later date. Talk to your captain and he will help find the best solution for your situation.

My boss has offered me a new contract at a reduced pay, do I have to accept? These are unprecedented times and we have seen some owners decide already that they will not use their yacht in the foreseeable future and so no longer need the full crew.
This, for some, is a good compromise but if you do not wish to stay at the reduced salary, your normal (full pay) SEA can be terminated under the usual terms & conditions. Whilst we are working to ensure the maximum number of crew maintain full employment, undoubtedly many yachts will not need full crew in the current situation.

Further information: There is a lot of information being circulated, so we do advise you only to use official government & flag state sources.

Important links for more support and information, from the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/seafarer-coronavirus-information
https://www.register-iri.com/covid-19/
https://www.cishipping.com/welcome-maci

Stay safe, stay well. Thank you.

The Crew Employment Services Team
Guernsey number: +44 1481 816415