Holiday Pay or Not?

On another thread the importance (or lack of) holiday pay is being discussed. A frequent commenter says the majority of his officers don’t want holiday pay & prefer to have the allotted money budgeted for holiday pay split between all employees throughout the year regardless if they are on the ship for holidays or not.

Here’s my math. 4 double pay holidays, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. 4 days salary divided by 182.5 days equals 2.19%. But since that is between 2 employees working even time it would mean a 1.09% pay raise throughout the year.

So would you prefer the guys on board get a double days pay for 4 holidays or everyone get a 1.09% raise? Its sounds like some office bean counting bullshit to me. I say give the guys working on holidays the extra money for their suffering.


4? There should be 10.

We always got 10 Federal Holidays. I guess it’s the union, but yea if you come in mid-November for a hitch you can make some serious holiday pay

Veterans Day
New Years

Holiday pay is pretty much a standard deep sea.


Whatever the Federal holiday is, whomever is onboard should get the double pay. You are missing out on a day you will never get back while your relief potentially is at home making the best of it. If your relief is stuck in some draconian quarantine, he/she should get it as well.
We had that taken away (among many other incentives) from us in 2014, and every federal holiday since has been less enjoyable offshore. Something that simple could make the difference with crew morale


At a previous employer, we got no holiday pay. However, officers could pretty much count on a 1000 dollar bonus twice a year.

They could have given us holiday pay, and no bonus. Depending on how many holidays you worked, you may come out further ahead than just the bonuses.

I am currently working for a company that has 10 paid holidays a year, but no bonuses at all.

Hard to find a place that gives you both i guess. Pick your flavor, can’t have it all.


0, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7. I’ve seen a lot of variations but not 10. That’s sweet. It’s bad enough being away for the holidays but no extra pay makes it worse. I’m not buying any snake oil assurances that my holiday pay is hidden in my regular pay. I think I’d rather be told, “Bah Humbug, Fuck You.” compared to some line about a secret hidden pay that I’m already getting.

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SIU and MEBA definitely get 10. They’re a little different, but it’s 10 holidays a year.


The real sweetheart deal is those companies that pay you the holiday whether you work it or not.

Yes. All regular employees should get 10 paid holidays. If you are at home, you get paid for one day, but if onboard you get paid for two days.

Most shoreside employers are required to pay, and employees routinely get : holiday pay, paid vacation, personal days, sick days, and overtime, but for some strange reason mariners do not.

Some companies pay bonuses too. The size of the bonus typically depends on the profitability of the company. At some companies the bonus approaches $10,000 in a great year.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that many shoreside companies make the maximum 401k match (I think it might be 7%), but most maritime employers have a really stingy 3% match that takes years to vest. Some have no match at all.

Maritime employers often provide all these things to shoreside employees, but not to Mariners.

10 would be awesome but I never got that. I started at a mom & pop pushboat company with low profitability & they paid 3 to people on board, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. Maybe because that is what I started with I always considered that the baseline for a decent thing to do for mariners working family holidays. Later I worked under a contract that gave me 7 but I would forget them sometimes because those minor holidays weren’t that big a deal when it came to celebrating.

Also, when I was young, not married & no kids I would volunteer to work every family holiday to give the family guys a break & I wasn’t the only one either. The double days are still a good incentives for people to work holidays at least domestically where logistics aren’t that bad for crewchange I think. It’s a win-win for everyone, even for employers because they should calculate that into budget (pie). Employees should be happier & the ones who volunteer to stay to give the family guys off are getting an extra reward for their sacrifice.

I work semi-shoreside for a govt agency now. Its like being in the union without being in the union. :blush:

We get ALL the holidays, time and a half if we are on duty, 8 hours of holiday pay if we arent. A big improvement from the last place I worked.

Maritime needs to compete with shoreside jobs for employees. There is really no excuse for not providing all of the normal shoreside benefits to mariners.

Benefits need to start promptly and be maintained consistently.

Too many companies stretch out eligibility to 90 days of employment. If working roughly 60/60, it takes five months to get on the benefits. That’s a ridiculous delay that few people can afford.

There are still some seasonal employers that do not provide year around insurance. The typical American worker work about 2000 hours a year. A Mariner works about 2000 hours in six months. Good companies provide year around benefits to mariners who work 180 days a year. There are still some bad employers who throw Mariners off insurance after 30 days.

At the present time, the unions have work available for new members, and they provide consistent benefits.

Non union employers need to compete if they want to hire guys under 65 (who are on Medicare). They can compete by providing benefits or paying higher wages.

Most mariners are show me the money now type of guys. $100 a day more that the union seems to be about what it takes. That’s probably about what it would cost a company to provide good benefits.

Part of the draw with holiday pay was to get people to come out during Deer Season, in the UP that should qualify for holiday pay, and to stay until lay-up in January. 3 nice holidays, with great food, and great pay are an incentive to be out in the snow and the cold and the ice.


Most unions have a ridiculous waiting period to get insurance as well…more so than any non union employer i’ve had.
For example, SIU is 90 days ‘worked.’ Working an even time rotation that will take 6 months if you never work over. If someone is signing on to a ship for a 120 day contract, no big deal i guess. Inland, it is a big deal.
When you call them out on how stupid that is they revert to, ‘if you get laid off or quit you have insurance for six months after though.’ Thats fine and dandy i guess, but most would still prefer a more reasonable waiting period like 90 ‘calendar’ days of employment.


I think I was on union insurance once, but it was so long ago that I really don’t remember.

At another so-called “ union” (an inland division of deep sea union) the employer provided the insurance.

Working for a couple non-union divisions of larger companies with union divisions we had good insurance that started after 30 days. I don’t know if the union guys were on the same insurance or not.

From the union point of view, you are joining for life and have consistent insurance for life as long as you sail with the union 4 months a year. The union doesn’t see it as any big deal if you wait months for insurance, just as the don’t see it as a big deal to sit in the hall for months to get the first few jobs.

Most employers have this HR mindset where you are just a probationary employee for 90 days and not worth any investment. They assume you can be on COBRA from your previous job with insurance for 90 days.

Most maritime employers are in a feast or famine business with high seasons and low seasons. There is usually no such thing as job security.

Many companies have tremendous turnover.

Many companies have nearly worthless $5000 deductible insurance and no preferred providers near where you live that results in a 50% out of network co-pay.

This whole medical insurance thing is such a scam.