New guidelines giving seafarers advice on their maternity and paternity rights have been launched by Nautilus International.
The material has been produced following a recommendation by the Nautilus Women’s Forum, and Forum chair Maryanne Adams said the user-friendly booklet gives an overview of UK maternity and paternity rights and how they affect seafarers.
‘It’s a useful starting point for women and men to know what their maternity and paternity rights are, and what the union can help them achieve,’ she said.
The Forum’s vice chair Jessica Tyson said its members should be ‘really proud of what has been achieved in a relatively short time. Nautilus has produced the maternity and paternity rights guide and the Protect and Respect handbook following advice and input from the Forum.’
The guide — which was launched at the ninth Nautilus Women’s Forum meeting on 29 March — follows on from the Protect and Respect handbook which helps members deal with bullying and harassment.
In introducing the booklet, the Union’s general secretary Mark Dickinson said: ‘Seafarers, as a matter of principle, should enjoy the same levels of employment protection that their shore-side colleagues receive.
‘Women should not be expected to give up the careers they have worked hard to build simply because they also wish to have children, and men should not be expected to miss their children growing up just because the maritime industry has too often been slow to embrace family friendly policies,’ he added.
While the guidance is based on UK entitlements, the Union wants it to be used industry-wide to ensure that the appropriate international bodies are challenged on their working practices.
As well as pulling together UK law, the maternity and paternity rights booklet highlights the relevance of International Transport Federation Workers’ Federation (ITF) minimum standards for those serving under foreign flags. These ITF agreements guarantee minimum rights for pregnant seafarers, including two months’ full pay in compensation and the right to repatriation at the cost of the company.
The booklet will be sent electronically to every member, and to all employers that the Union has contact with, and is downloadable as a pdf on the Resources page of the website. The next meeting of the Women’s Forum will be in September 2014.