Round of statements on amendments to the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act: Employers to have the right to oblige employees to take a breathalyser test
It has been proposed that provisions be added to the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act on breathalysing of employees. The legislative draft to be sent out for statements proposes that the employer be given the right to oblige an employee working on their vessel to take a breathalyser test to determine whether the employee is under the influence of alcohol during working hours. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise a round of statements on the amendment from 8 July to 3 September 2021.
Breathalyser tests for employees on vessels are justified from the perspective of maritime safety and the special conditions of maritime travel. Current legislation does not contain provisions that would allow the employer to oblige an employee on a vessel to take a breathalyser test.
Under to the proposed amendments, the employer could oblige employees to take breathalyser tests, if the conditions laid down in the Act are met. Random breathalyser tests or regularly conducted tests, for example, at the beginning of each shift would be possible for people whose tasks where working while intoxicated could endanger safety on vessels. An employer could also oblige an individual employee to take a breathalyser test if the employer has reason to suspect that the employee is intoxicated at work.
In addition, it has been proposed that provisions that require the use of appropriate procedures for organising breathalyser tests and provisions on the processing of personal data in connection with breathalyser tests be added to the Act.
The new legislation would also apply to pontoon ferries that are not covered by the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act
Johanna Ylitepsa, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment , tel. +358 29 506 4207