National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who must be paid it

Seafarers' and offshore workers' entitlement to the minimum wage


Whether seafarers and offshore workers are entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage depends on what work they are doing and where they are working.

Seafarers and minimum wage

Regardless of where their ship is registered, seafarers are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage whilst employed to work on a ship working in the UK. For minimum wage purposes the UK includes its internal waters, eg estuaries, and the sea between the UK mainland and many islands. This also applies to non-UK resident seafarers working in the UK.

When working on board a ship registered in the UK, a seafarer who is ordinarily a UK resident must be paid at least the minimum wage wherever in the world that ship may be, unless all their work takes place outside the UK.

Offshore workers and minimum wage

Unless offshore workers are in the course of navigation or are working on a ship which is engaged in dredging or fishing, they must be paid at least the minimum wage if they are working or ordinarily work:

  • in UK territorial waters
  • in the UK sector of the continental shelf
  • in the UK sector of the continental shelf where the employment is connected with the exploration of a cross boundary petroleum field in a foreign sector of the continental shelf

Offshore workers, who qualify for the minimum wage, are entitled to the minimum wage whether or not they, or their employer, are based in the UK itself.