When the seafarer gets ill, the crewing agent is obliged to pay the seafarer sick wages. Even when the seafarer reported ill after returning to his home country. If the crewing agent does not pay, this can lead to claims. And of course, our goal is to prevent for unnecessary claims. AIM recently resolved a case like this.
What was the case?
A Philippine seafarer was not feeling quite well during his work on board, however he did not mention this to the captain and he didn’t ask for consultation of a doctor.
Not fit for duty
When he returned to Manila, he consulted a doctor on his own initiative. The doctor concluded that the seafarer was sick and not fit for duty. Based on the rights described in the POEA, the seafarer is entitled to 120 days of sick wages payment. Unfortunately, the crew agent was not aware of this. And as a result the sick wages were not paid. The seafarer ran into financial problems because he was unable to pay for his medical bills, medicines and could no longer support his family. The seafarer was convinced that his illness was job related.
The absence of sick wages caused so much frustration at the seafarer, that he looked for legal assistance…a claim was made!
Eventually the misunderstanding was resolved and the sick wages were transferred to the seafarers bank account. With AIM’s help, all frustration that the seafarer had were resolved and good care was provided. In the end, no claim was submitted to the NLRC.
In conclusion of this case: payment of sick wages is very important and should also be continued after a contract period ends according to the POEA rules.