COVID 19 advice for Crew

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A little advice for UK Superyacht Crew regarding COVID – 19

We have been contacted by a lot of Yacht Crew regarding their jobs and COVID 19.
There are a number of Yachts making crew redundant and also a fair few of you who are stuck in the UK unable to get back to work.
We understand this is a difficult time and a lot of you have been in touch to ask if you are eligible for any kind of grants. Please read the following carefully as this explains your eligibility and the reasoning behind it.
As  UK resident crew you file your tax return on the basis of being employed on a Yacht. This means you are not self-employed.
Because you are treated as an employee the only UK Government relief that would be relevant is the Job retention scheme.
However your employer needs to apply for this and would only be eligible if they were operating a PAYE scheme in the UK (not the case for most yacht employers). Most yachts do not and cannot pay through any type of PAYE scheme due to the registration of the yacht, many different nationalities on board and how the ownership structure is set up
Therefore if you are made redundant by your Yacht unfortunately there is very limited support available for you.
This means you would be treated as “unemployed” rather than furloughed or redundant. In a nutshell you will not be able to claim very much.
The main option would be to apply for Universal credit.
Another area we have been asked a lot of questions about is how the current situation will impact your qualification for the Seafarer’s Earnings Deduction.
If you are not currently on a Yacht because you were made redundant. Or if you were on rotation and are not allowed back onboard then it’s likely you are going to be shore based for a considerable length of time.
To continue to qualify for the Seafarers Earnings Deduction you will likely need to split your qualifying period. This means that prior to the extended break away from a boat you will need to have been onboard for the majority of a period of 365 days before your extended break. Then, when you start again on the boat you will again need to be on board for the majority of the 365 day period starting from this new date.
Finally if your Yacht has decided to base itself in the UK, any earnings you have during this period will be taxable in the UK as you won’t qualify for the deduction for the days you are in the UK.
We know a to of you out there are very stressed about the situation. You are worried about yourselves, families, friends etc.
We have seen a number of crew leave their yachts and go home but please bear this in mind. At the moment there are a lot of people really suffering because of COVID 19. Whether it is physically, mentally or financially.
So, before you quit your job to go home please think about this;
  • You have a job
  • You are in a safe and healthy environment
  • You are being fed
  • You are in isolation
  • You are being paid
This may seem like a really harsh thing to say right now, but if you have all these things going for you, stay put. The only thing going home will do for you is risk all of the above. Yes you may be able to see your family but remember, travelling home only increases the risk of you, your family or someone else getting sick.
As always, if you have any questions or we can help you with anything please get in touch. We are always happy to help.
Published on 22nd April 2020 in by